Switching to CrunchBang II

Well I've been using #! for about a week now. I'm still enjoying it's simplicity but the Openbox desktop started to get on my nerves a bit. For that reason I've decided to give the Xfce version a try. I could have simply converted my existing installation into a multi-session one but instead I decided to go for a fresh install and I'm glad I did because it gave me another chance to appreciate the installation process.

I can't believe just how quickly this distro installs. I'm talking about literally 5-10 minutes between switching on the machine, installing the OS and rebooting into the full Xfce desktop environment. When I think about the hours I've spent over the years installing various versions of Windows it makes me want to cry. In fact it sometimes takes me that long just to logon to Xp these days. I thought Ubuntu and it's derivatives were fast but they have nothing on CrunchBang.

Another thing I love about the CrunchBang installation process is the post installation script that runs when you first login. There is no shiny user interface or flashy graphics. Instead you get a simple bash script wizard. In just a few steps you can turn a bog standard linux installation into a development machine, web server, database server or all of the above and more. Each step is well explained with a simple option to install or skip. Simple but effective and very user friendly.

As I mentioned in my previous CrunchBang post wireless connections have caused me quite a lot of trouble over the years and made some distributions virtually unusable. This is certainly no criticism of the kernel/driver developers but rather of those hardware manufacturers who often don't release their specifications to the community. Anyway with CrunchBang it all seemed to go smoothly. My wireless card installed correctly and I connected to my home network easily enough. There was just one problem. The connection was slow. When I say slow I mean sloooow!

After a bit of digging around on the Internet (and a lot of waiting around for pages to load) I found an article describing a problem with my particular wireless card and the version of the Linux kernel that shipped with Debian Squeeze (and therefore with CrunchBang). Luckily for me there was a workaround documented. A simple option could be passed to the kernel at boot time which would improve the wireless card's performance.

pci=use_crs

Since Grub2 is now being used by Debian and others passing this option to the kernel at boot time is not just as simple as editing the menu.lst file anymore. So again after some investigation I discovered that the /etc/default/grub file is the place to put this option. But then afterwards you have to update grub with a couple of simple commands:

sudo update-grub

sudo grub-setup /dev/sda

Now that I have a fully functioning system setup and have had I chance to play about a bit I think I would best describe the Xfce version of CrunchBang as very similar to the Openbox one but with a little more personality. I like it. Hopefully I can now settle down and get on with writing some code.