#! Crunchbang

Here at Wamlabs we believe in freedom of choice, and we always choose GNU/Linux.

Recently I acquired an Asus U45JC laptop eqipped with Nvidia Optimus. Optimus is a proprietary Window$ software that switches graphics functions between onboard Intel graphics and a Nvidia Geforce card. Linux users cannot access this card nor even turn it off. Nvidia’s despicable plan is clear: force all users to use W7. But I am not willing to become a Window$ mind-slave just to get better graphics. Onboard graphics will have to suffice (and they are not bad), until that happy day when brave Linux hackers break through the Optimus defenses. Just be careful when you buy your next laptop that it does not have this unfortunate technology in it.

Saddened by the efforts of corporate jackals to make a buck by limiting my personal freedom of choice, I fought with VirtualBox. VirtualBox allows users to run operating systems in a virtual machine without actually accessing the computer hardware. See www.virtualbox.org. With VirtualBox in place I went distro-hopping at DistroWatch and began downloading free operating systems. A great variety of Linux distros are available these days. Even if you are a Window$ user you can have the greatness of GNU on your computer with VirtualBox, all for free. In fact, you should install Linux in a VirtualBox if only order to surf the net without acquiring nasty viruses, trojans, and spyware.

Since I usually run the latest Ubuntu, I test-drove some excellent non-Ubuntu operating systems: Linux Mint, Linux Mint Debian Edition, Sabayon (Gentoo-based), Archlinux, Archbang, a distro I put together myself on the openSuse build service, and finally #!Crunchbang. All of these distros are reviewed on the web, so I will only say here that each and every one of them is far superior to anything Micro$oft has to offer.

I finally decided to commit to #! Statler Alpha 2 64 bit, a Debian Squeeze distro running Openbox. #! Statler is fast, fully-functional, and very stable. It boasts a famously friendly and knowledgable online community. Except for the fact that I had to install it from a CDROM instead of the more usual USB drive (some glitch I could not resolve) #! has been a peak OS experience. Perfect for marginal machines like my eeepc 901 and lightning-fast on newer machines like this laptop. See crunchbanglinux.org.

Openbox has also been a great pleasure. It is a no-desktop windows manager that I am now using not only on #! but also to replace Gnome on my desktop Ubuntu Maverick machine. It is infinitely configurable through XML files. What joy! See urukrama.wordpress.com/openbox-guide/.

The moral of the story is, software is like sex: it’s better when it’s free.


One Response to “#! Crunchbang”

  1. “The moral of the story is, software is like sex: it’s better when it’s free.” – Is that “free as in beer”, or “free as in speech”? 😉 The (deeply) hidden ad-exec in me proposes we modify the standard metaphor: FOSS is “free as in sex” – that should draw the crowds…

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