Sunday, June 17, 2012

Light Linux Series: CrunchBang - Minimalistic but robust

CrunchBang is derived from Debian with an openbox desktop. Minimalistic in design but highly functional.

I downloaded crunchbang-10-20120207-i386.iso (662 MB) from CrunchBang Download. Like all Linux distros these day, it offers 32-bit and 64-bit versions. My desktop suited 32-bit. Download file size is bigger than other light-weight linux distros I reviewed earlier.

I booted the OS from a 4 GB USB file. The booting time was not as quick as Puppy or Slitaz but it was quick. I was greeted with a black interface with a Conky telling details of my computer. CPU usage was around 3-10% & RAM 100-150 MiB.

The interface offers a few choice of wallpapers - all on black theme!

One of the biggest advantage of CrunchBang is rolling release. That means install once and enjoy it forever. It is minimalistic in design and a lot of Ubuntu / Mint users, who are familiar to a colorful interface with a lot of special effects, may not favor it's dull look.

But, to be honest the distro is very functional. Taking screenshot was difficult as Prt Scr button didn't work. Right clicking anywhere on the desktop opens up the menu. Had to scroll down to take screenshot. Default editor is GIMP (which is good). GIMP can any day replace Adobe Photoshop, equally powerful and people familiar with Photoshop would be at ease with GIMP.

VLC player is provided by default, another good news. If you're using Linux, VLC is a must to play all formats of videos.

Default internet browser is Chrome and it has flash-plugin installed. Good that you can directly view youtube without updating the distro. That doesn't happen with even Ubuntu or Debian. All expected features like remote desktop connection, bittorrent client, IRC chat and FTP client are there. Dropbox is an added feature in CrunchBang - Android users need no intro of Dropbox.

Abiword, Gnumeric and PDF viewer are provided by default. You can download complete LibreOffice suite from the menu link provided.

All in all, I liked CrunchBang. Though it is not as light as Puppy or Slitaz (in terms of size) but provides a complete OS to users with outdated computers. Though it is not designed keeping old computers in mind, but it works even in P3 with 256 mb RAM (as reported in Also, you get to leverage Debian & Ubuntu repositories and install apps from there.

The community support is good and you can leverage Ubuntu & Debian support as well. All in all, a functional distro to have if you really don't care of looks but care about speed. It has good amazing speed for sure. So, if Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is bugging your system down, CrunchBang is there to help your computing needs!

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