Linux Distribution Review: Crunchbang 10

I needed a lightweight Linux distribution for my old Dell Inspiron 1000 laptop, this only has 512Mb of ram and a processor to match. I tried Lubuntu which uses LXDE, but it just seemed slow, then I noticed a review on Crunchbang 10 ‘Statler’ and decided to install it.

Installation

I chose the 32 bit stable version and it installed without a hitch. However, I did have problems with the touchpad and wifi card. I manged to get both those problems solved in a day or so and was surprised to see that Crunchbang automatically connected to the wifi network of my choice.

In Use

I have been happily surprised by crunchbang, it is a pleasure to use. I like the minimal but more than adequate openbox desktop, including the clever conky system monitor. Crunchbang 10 is a lot more responsive and easier to use than Lubuntu and of course, it’s also based on Debian so there are plenty of packages to choose from.

The system tray starts with sound, network and clipboard utilities (configured by the install), the menu is a right-click on the desktop job. You can set the menu to auto update when an application is installed, but that just means configuring a separate ‘Debian’ menu entry. For the amount of applications you are going to install you might as well use the menu editor. The menu also comes with numerous openbox configuration options.

The installed applications include Iceweasel (web browser), Gnumeric, Abiword, Geany (text editor/IDE) and a menu entry to install Libreoffice. There is also a menu item for Dropbox but I have not used that yet.

Conclusions

I have been very impressed with Crunchbang. It is a well thought out and innovative Linux distribution, more importantly -it just works. If you have an old PC or laptop that you want to give a new lease of life, you won’t go far wrong with Crunchbang.

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