Tuesday, February 14, 2012

CrunchBang! The minimalist marvel

I've been trying out CrunchBang on a Live USB. It's based on Debian Stable but uses the minimalist Openbox window manager. It's the sort of set up that works well on older computers with limited resources, but it's also the sort of set up that geeks tend to like, and usually not on a computer with limited resources, rather on a high performance system. The idea of running a really basic interface on a high performance machine seems to appeal. This example from the Debian forum caught my eye. It is very elegant in a minimalist way (and as it's being run on a Triple-Core i5 Processor with 6Gb RAM, it's probably not for want of resources).

Desktop by vrkalak. (Full size image available at link.)

I have my eye on CrunchBang as a replacement for Debian Lenny on my old laptop. It's a single core 1.8GHz machine, but even it can cope with Gnome 2 at the moment. CrunchBang certainly flies on my more modern dual core machine, even from a USB, so it will be interesting to try it on my older laptop later.

Being based on Debian Stable, it is as stable as a rock. It comes with multimedia enabled (MP3, Flash and DVD playback), and there are applications to take care of work and play (Libre Office [Correction: it comes with Abi Word and an install option for Libre Office, at least in the backports-enabled version], GIMP and VLC- which takes care of music and video playback.)

My three year old daughter moaned that she didn't get a thumbnail preview of her videos, but I found the solution to that the next day. (Install ffmpegthumbnailer.)

CrunchBang is highly configurable, but unlike my recent experience with KDE, configuration is done by editing the configuration file, which seems a lot better to me than the endless configuration options everywhere in KDE. Edit the configuration files in CrunchBang, and you can set it up just as you want. Then save the file and you're back to your minimalist desktop. Here's what I did in a hour.

CrunchBang comes with Conky on the desktop, something else that will appeal to geeks. I'm not that interested in seeing system information, but I was able to edit the configuration file to show some useful information in the bottom left of my wallpaper image. The resulting desktop is elegant and functional.

In summary, CruchBang is elegantly functional, in a minimalist way. It's probably going to appeal to the computer geek as much as owners of older computers or netbooks with limited resources. In either case, it certainly isn't going to take up resources for itself, but just let you get on with running the applications you want to without the operating system getting in the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment