Sunday, 18 October 2009

crunchbang linux

As regular readers will know, I spend some of my evenings buggering about with old machines, otherwise known as carrying out informal technical evaluations.

Something I've been playing with recently is the crunchbang linux live cd perhaps with a view to loading it on the $83 machine instead of classic ubuntu.

After all 90% of what I do is web based, blogger gmail, and google docs or zoho for writing and comparitievly little is done with a classic locally installed app, and when I do it's usually kwrite or abiword - so crunchbang seemed a likely possibility.

Crunch bang is basically like an up to date fluxbuntu - lightweight, enigmatic with a rightclick on the desktop metaphor but not immediately obvious. In fact it's based on the ubuntu 9 base.

Now having run fluxbuntu in a vm I'm quite happy with this. So Crunchbang looked a natural, and certainly everything seemed to work on the live cd, except it was slow - very slow. Now it is the $83 machine with only 192MB RAM but lightweight distros should surely run well - after all ubuntu 8 runs pretty well.

So I have a dilemma - crunchbang looks good, looks promising, but should I trash what I've got for a new distro?

Not sure, probably the go would be to build a vm using virtual box on the 'proper' computer which has plenty of grunt and see how that goes ...

Which is exactly what I did, configuring a machine with a purposely small disk and small amount of physical memory.

The install is easy. It asks some very simple questions, including one about setting up autologin for that instant-on netbook experience, sets a mac-like default name for the host and you're up and running.

It's reasonably responsive. Installing the non-standard kwrite was straightforward once I remembered to re-initialise the libraries and it looked good.

Generally performance is very much like fluxbox, but with the advantage it's built on a more recent code base.

Would I change? Possibly. The $83 machine is very much a play machine and running something different might be fun, and as I said all I need for 90% of everything is a web browser ...

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