Switching to CrunchBang

For the last 3 or 4 years I've been using Ubuntu almost exclusively on the desktop. But recently I've been thinking about making a change. The reasons for this are beyond the scope of this post but needless to say I have been in search of a new distro. I only have 1 absolute requirement when choosing a new one, it must be Debian based. I'm a big fan of Apt which in my opinion is unrivaled as a package manager.

This evening when I returned home from work I found a new copy of Linux Format Magazine waiting for me. On the accompanying disc this month is a copy of CrunchBang 10 Statler #! I've heard and read good things about this project but never had the time to give it a try before. It's based on Debian so I thought I'd give the live CD a try. As I have no working CD drive in this machine I had to create a bootable usb drive. (nothing is ever straightforward is it?) Normally I'd use Unetbootin to accomplish this but I noticed a footnote on the CrunchBang site recommending a simple dd command instead. It booted up very quickly and connected to my wireless network without any problems (this has been a sticking point in the past when trying out new distributions) so I decided to go the whole hog and install it on my main desktop.

So I restarted and selected the graphical installer option from the boot menu and followed the wizard. Grub reported finding another OS Windows Vista and I assumed that it would follow the normal pattern and create a dual boot environment for me as happened when installing Ubuntu. So I was a little peeved when I rebooted and discovered I only had the CrunchBang option on the boot menu.

I was confident that no actual damage had been done to my Vista installation, I just needed a way to boot into it. A quick search through the CrunchBang forum threw up a couple of options one of which was to update grub by running the following commands:

sudo update-grub

sudo grub-setup

This did the trick and after restarting I had the choice to boot windows or CrunchBang.

The installation itself was lightning fast and I must say I like the simplicity of the default OpenBox desktop environment. The only major change I've made so far is to install the Iceweasel browser (the Debian version of Firefox). I know Chromium is supposed to be much faster but I'm set in my ways. Overall I've been impressed so far with #! but I'll reserve my full judgment until I've spent a few weeks using it day-to-day.