CrunchBang: A Lightweight OS Perfect For Old And New Computers Alike

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crunchbang osBloated operating systems bogging your system down? Is waiting for software to load on an older computer ruining your entire freaking life? Try something lightweight. Crunchbang is a minimalist OS built on Debian Linux, but don’t worry if you don’t know what any of those words mean – it’s also easy to use and runs well even on older computers.

The Crunchbang OS has been around for a long time, and it’s always stuck to its mission: offering a lightweight operating system based on Openbox. If you’re a fan of widgets, docks and shiny things you might want to look elsewhere – by default this OS is more striaght-forward than that. If you want an operating system that thinks you know what you’re doing, and doesn’t waste resources, I recommend Crunchbang (sometimes written as “#!”).

Previously based on Ubuntu, these days the Crunchbang OS is based on Debian (which Ubuntu itself is also based on). Again, don’t worry if that confuses you: the system itself is straight-forward to use and fun to explore.

Simplicity and Speed

crunchbang os

Start up CrunchBang and you’ll basically see a blank canvas. There’s no start menu – we’ll get to that. There’s a taskbar at the top of the screen, complete with clock and icons. And there’s also a list of keyboard shortcuts, courtesy of Conky.

crunchbang lightweight

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(The Super key, if you didn’t know, is Linux-speak for the Windows key on most keyboards).

Use these shortcuts to quickly load a web browser, media player or the Terminal. Or, if you’d rather start exploring, right-click anywhere on the desktop (or press Super + Space) to bring up the main menu:

crunchbang lightweight

You’ll find a variety of programs here for getting work done – more on that later. You’ll also find quick links for installing software not included with CrunchBang, like Chrome and LibreOffice. Again, more on that later.

The browser included is called IceWeasel, but don’t panic: it’s basically Firefox. Debian doesn’t included Firefox by default, because Firefox itself includes some things (mostly the name and the logo) that are not technically open source. It’s a long story.

crunchbang lightweight

So you’ll be able to browse the web as you like.

Don’t like the way the menu is arranged, or how the various keyboard shortcuts work? For me, this is where things get fun. Linux distros used to reward exploration, and part of the fun was exploring and seeing what was possible. Go through the settings and you’ll find tools for changing all of these things, and if you don’t you can always explore the Crunchbang Forums.

List of Software Included With CrunchBang OS

Explore the menu and you’ll find programs for everything from word processing to microblogging – all of which are lightweight and run well on older computers. Here are the highlights in one list:

These are only the default apps: you’ll find links for installing software like Google Chrome, Libre Office or Dropbox in the menus, and you can also browse or search the entire Debian repositories thanks to Synaptic. Or, if you prefer the command line, you can install anything you like using apt-get:

crunchbang os

Download Crunchbang

Ready to get started with Crunchbang? You can head to Crunchbang.org and download an ISO file, which you can burn to a CD or boot from a USB disk using software like LiveUSB or uNetBootin. There are two versions offered: a year-old stable version, and an unstable version based on the current version of Debian. Both worked quite well for me in testing – which makes sense because, as of this writing, Debian’s unstable branch is quite far along.

Of course, Crunchbang isn’t the only Lightweight linux distribution out there: there are many. But if you’re looking for some polish, but also very lightweight, it’s one of the best.

But I want to know what you think: is CrunchBang a good lightweight distro for your personal use? If not, what will you be using? Let me know below, okay?

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Comments (13)
  • Mithat

    can we use for work .i mean develop java , web applications …etc

  • Amos

    How does it compare to Zorin?

  • Ben Klaas

    I use #! in a VM at work, where I’m consigned to (sigh) windows as my native OS. I’d previously tried both Ubuntu and Mint in VMs there, but both were too heavyweight, at least in their default configurations. Rather then spend a bunch of time reconfiguring those distros to use lighter weight window and desktop managers, I gave #! a try and have not looked back. #! is crazy quick and provides everything I need with a quick right-click on the desktop, or through one of the pre-packaged keyboard shortcuts (complete with desktop cheat sheet). I also love the dark minimalist theme. No muss no fuss.

    I think if I was using #! as my primary distro at home I’d miss some of the handy configuration GUIs that e.g. Gnome or even LXDE provides, but for the work VM nothing has come close to the ease and speed of #!. It’s an impressive distro, meticulously put together by its caretaker (who I think is the lone developer on the project).

    • Justin Pot

      Great comment. While not for every purpose, #! has its place.

  • null

    Can crunchbag run window’s games?

    • dragonmouth

      “Can crunchbag run window’s games?”
      Not natively. #! is a Linux distribution. You will need Wine or some other emulator to run Windows games.

    • Justin Pot

      But Wine and other emulation is far from perfect, and not really easy to use.

    • dragonmouth

      Then, I guess, the answer to null’s question is a definite NO.

      I don’t use Wine or any other emulator. Once I switched from Windows to Linux I never looked back. There is nothing that Windows can provide for me that Linux can’t.

  • Taha Ben Ali

    thanks very much at this article,yes it do at all pc

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.