I stand firm in my belief that Easy Peasy remains the best choice for most users wishing to run Linux full-time on their sub-notebook, but if, like me, you’re not content with something that works perfectly well and seek instead something that makes you stand out in a crowd then you’ll definitely want to check out CrunchEee — a variant of CrunchBang Linux optimized for Eee PC netbooks.
CrunchEee comes with the custom Array.org kernel built-in, so WPA-encypted WiFi and the unique ad-hoc connection of Joikuspot are supported on start-up. There’s also an Eee-specific panel that lets you manage Bluetooth connections, your webcam and also gives you some performance presets for your Asus machine.
And… that’s about all you get. Seriously.
CrunchEee flaunts the absence of features as much as anything else. Consider that there’s no office suite, games pack or — near as I can tell — a desktop file, even! Of course, apps are readily available via the standard Synaptic package manager, but the minimalism in CrunchEee goes well beyond its black colour scheme.
Consider the complete absence of desktop icons… Clearly, n00bs aren’t welcome here, and l33t #! users will already know that a right-click of their mouse or trackpad will bring up a contextual menu of apps and such — though they’re just as likely to use keyboard shortcuts to get their haX0r party started.
There are precious few GUI tools here, most of your CrunchEee customization will be done by cutting and pasting snippets of text — like this bit I needed to get the volume keys on my Eee PC 901 working.
And no discussion of editing text files would be complete without bowing at the feet of the masterpiece of geekery that is Conky.
Described by its makers as a “lightweight system monitor”, Conky’s appeal is that it is almost infinitley customizable — witness the endless galleries of Conky config files like the ones here and here. As for me, I’ve yet to memorize the “super” shortcut keys in my CrunchEee installation, so I’ll be keeping the default config for now.
CrunchEee is based on the Ubuntu 8.10 kernel — there’s a new version of CrunchBang, with 9.04 but without the Array.org customization for my Eee’s WiFi needs. I tried to install the Array.org kernel myself once and it didn’t take. I guess I’m still a Linux n00b after all… Just don’t tell anyone, okay?