CrunchBang 11 “Waldorf”, my Thoughts Jun 2014

Sometimes less is more. Sometimes less frees you from doing more. Less makes you think about what you want to do rather than what you could do. Less is very effective at removing time wasters.

I tried Crunchbang Linux some years ago, when it was unstable, and prone to breaking. I did not enjoy the Crunchbang experience back then. Who wanted a Operating System that was going to break, had a silly menu, and an empty desktop?

I finally get it. I finally understand what Crunchbang delivers, and what it represents for me. After the install, there is a dark mostly empty screen, with Conky on the top right side. The menu is sparsely populated. Only the minimum programs are there. A perfect blank canvas waiting for paint.

What programs are present are all most of us use in our day to day computing. From here on out, once Crunchbang is installed, if you want more, you need to do it yourself. This is the real power of Linux and Crunchbang in particular. The basics are covered, the rest is up to you.

Out of this emptiness Crunchbang Linux sits in the revered top twenty on the Distrowatch web sites ranking of Linux Distro’s most popular. For a long time I did not understand why. I think I do now.

Does it matter I have fifty of the greatest Linux programs ever written a few mouse clicks away if I rarely use them? Does it matter that my desktop could be placed in an art gallery when my net-centric apps are covering the desktop?

When I installed Crunchbang a few days ago, it was obvious some changes were needed. I thought I fell of the deep end, again. Where was the bling, the color and cool desktop pics, etc? Where were the programs I use?  I did not like the dark desktop which is the default Crunchbang. What was the point of how the menu is accessed. Who cares about Shortcut Keys?

I brightened up the desktop. I added the programs I prefer to use. I added them to the menu. I modified the menu to a menu I like. I don’t know if I am done, but I know I can add, remove, and modify almost everything.

My old dislikes were: The menu sucks, the programs are old, the distro is dark and boring. Truth is, menu access is brilliant. One left click anywhere on the desktop and there is the menu.  The programs are rock solid, and in almost every case perform every function the newest release does. I changed the desktop wallpaper to something lighter. I added some programs I prefer to use.

Using Crunchbang is watching your favorite television show at prime time, without commercials. Crunchbang is surfing the net without any ads. Crunchbang is a word processor which loads full screen with only the cursor as a distraction.

Crunchbang is so popular imo, because it is malleable. Crunchbang is true Linux putty. Crunchbang allows you to have a desktop and programs you want, not what a majority of people are willing to live with. Crunchbang allows you to create the perfect Linux for you.  You do not need a dedicated team to set up your desktop, You can learn in mere minutes how to modify the desktop and the menu to your liking.

Linux is a series of trade offs. Everything is a trade for something else, with few exceptions.  Crunchbang is one of those exceptions. Crunchbang frees you from some of what you do not need, and allows you to take control of your Linux experience.

Crunchbang has great resources in their forum, and more distant help scattered across the web. Everything I wanted to change, I found posts in the forum. Almost everything in Crunchbang is changeable, and explained in a way everyone can understand. The forum feels homey, somewhere you can hang out with friends and talk Crunchbang, even distro hopping if you wish.

The web’s Crunchbang comments and articles are helpfull too, but may not apply to the current version. I prefer forums for distro support. Crunchbang has a very good forum. I enjoy the tone of the posts I read.

Crunchbang is very personable, once you realize Crunchbang prefers you make most of the decisions beyond the basics. Perhaps this is the crux of Linux in the separation between beginning Linus users and more skilled Linux users.

Beginning Linux users want the experience of Linux with no thinking, and that is good as Linux is a new experience. Perhaps more experienced users know the difference. Jump in with an open mind, willing to learn, and no preconceived notions of what a Linux Distribution should be, and give Crunchbang a go. You might like being in control of your computer and master of your Crunchbang Linux realm.