A Month with Crunchbang - A Resumé

At November 26th Corenomial (Crunchbang developer) pronounced the release of a new Crunchbang image. Based as ever (for some 2 years?) on Debian stable Squeeze. It had some nice improvements like out of the box samba sharing, a nice theme, an up to date iceweasel aka firefox, a newer kernel and more. It really made a quantum leap ahead - which caused me to immediately install it on my main machine and at work.

After a month now with this superb operating system I wanted to summarize my thoughts.

In short:
It just works!

More detailed:
When I installed the system I was more than pleased. It went quick, with no hassle and most of the programs I use where already there. Especially at work it was very nice to have samba and printing support right from the start as most of the computers run windows. And here really lies the strength of Crunchbang. A stable, well known (Debian-) base with no fuss. Perfect!

At home first I was impressed and satisfied as well. The only minor inconvenience was that Icedove (Debian-Thunderbird) in the repositories was a bit old and broke all my add-ons. So I installed the newest Thunderbird from mozilla. Which worked near perfect - only the default Statler-Crunchbang theme wouldn't want to play nicely with Thunderbird 8 and 9. The result was that some things were indistinguishable. But as I said - just a small glitch.

Concerning programs I use (mainly office: libreoffice, kompozer, browser, ftp-client, gigolo, lamp-server, printing, the usual stuff) there was not one which didn't work! Very productive!

Two things where a bit tricky though. One is negligible: winff in the debian repositories came with a reduced set of presets. Which is in no way Crunchbang's fault nor any others. It just took a while to figure it out. (I mention it because it was rather annoying nevertheless!)

The other thing which eventually caused me to change distros (yes I did!) was video playback. I realized that a large movie file I wanted to watch rendered somewhat fractioned. First I thought it was a corrupted video file. Cause with a quad-core and an additional video card it shouldn't do that. Then I realized that the nvidia and vdpau drivers in the repositories might be the problem. What I did eventually was to draw the newest drivers from Sid (unstable repositories). Well it worked as far as I can tell. No crashes or incompatibilities - though I had to upgrade my KDE apps as well (I use kaffeine among others). But I didn't like it. I mean what's the point in having Debian stable when half the system (overdone) is gathered from unstable?It made me squizzy. Will everything work as before?

Another thing was that I realized I really want to have the newest firefox. I mean not that I really need it. It's just for the sake of having the newest and take a look at it, see how it works. When the new Firefox came out and like Thunderbird didn't work with the Crunchbang-theme (yeah, I know I could have done some things about it, but that is not the point) - this really was the turning point. Hell - before I start to tinker more and more with the system - why not go straight to Arch Linux and have all the new and shiny stuff automatically? A side effect would be that with Arch Linux you have to do some tinkering anyway:-)

So here I am again with a new fresh Arch system. Naturally pure Openbox!

BUT - you know what - and that really proves the quality of Crunchbang - I absolutely heavily borrowed from Crunchbang! Config files, theme, everything I found useful. Without Crunchbang it wouldn't have been possible for me to set up my Arch system that quick. Thanks Crunchbang!

Crunchbang is a high quality operating system. Preferably for production workstations with focus on stability. I will go on to use it at work in any case (plus I have two virtual machines with Crunchbang one of which runs nearly perpetually ) and hope Corenomial (Crunchbang developer) will continue to work on it. It really is the one distro which showed what is possible with openbox and sparked some newer projects like ArchBang (Arch Linux), Viperr (Fedora) or Semplice (Debian Sid unstable) (have a look at my Openbox distro list) - which is splendid for the further development of Openbox - might be the next Desktop to come?!:-)