Ever since getting my Eee PC, I’ve used Easy Peasy as my netbook optimized operating system. But last week I discovered CrunchBang Linux (also referred to as #!), a distribution built on top of Ubuntu that uses OpenBox as its Window Manager. CruchBang Linux and its OpenBox environment are perfectly suited to the Eee PC. CrunchBang has a Eee specific release called CrunchEee. Eee PCs are by not slow, and they can run well by using a lot more resource intensive systems, but there’s just no need for it.
I’m going to try to explain why for some people, CrunchBang is the perfect netbook OS.
If you own a netbook there are probably only so many reasons that you use it for:
- Taking notes
- Web browsing
Netbooks are not perfect machines, but they have their strengths, and by using lightweight and fast environments that stay out of your way and give you the ability to focus netbooks perfect for people who want to be as productive as possible with their tools.
Speed and Simplicity.
Lightweight desktops environments are sometimes perceived as being more complicated than other environments such as Gnome or KDE, but CrunchBang does a great job of keeping options and controls easy to use when you want to, and out of your way when you don’t. It’s about keeping your environment task focused. For when you want to, there are a few customization options that CrunchBang provides you with.
The Appearance Settings tool gives you the options of things like managing themes, icon sets and other options Linux users will be used to seeing. The Openbox Configuration Manager and the Menu Editor also makes it easy for users to get in and modify almost all of the user interface options. Advanced users can edit settings through text files or XML files, but the average user is protected from that.
CrunchBang comes with a great collection of light weight applications, but here are a list of my recommendations for Linux applications to install to get even more out of the system.
- Last.fm player for streaming Internet radio
- Thunderbird as an email client
- Dropbox for seamless file sharing between your computers (Instructions for installing Dropbox on CrunchBang)
- Geany for development
And of course as a mobile Internet based device, you’ll want to take advantage of applications on the cloud as much as possible.
CrunchBang has a great active IRC channel on Freenode with 30-50 users online at any time, perfect for getting help from people in real time. The CrunchBang Linux Forums also have just around 1000 topics that have been posted and 8000 posts. And they have an active blog, a wiki and their own planet aggregator!
(CrunchBang isn’t only available for the Eee PC, the team also have 2 different desktop images that are available at the CrunchBang wiki.)
Have you tried CrunchBang Linux?
What are you running on your netbook?