A little over five years ago, I started using Linux — GNU/Linux, to be more precise, but you’ll forgive me if I use “Linux” here completely as shorthand, in the same way a Chevrolet is called a “Chevy.” In short, this personal odyssey started with Debian, meandered through several *buntus (favorite, even still: Xubuntu), distro-hopped on every distro on DistroWatch except Gentoo (which I’ve never gotten to run on any machine) until settling down in 2009 with one primary distro among a handful I regularly use.
Since July of this year, though, I’ve been using CrunchBang on a regular basis, and over the last six months it has grown on me enough to become my distro of choice.
Those who know me well know that, until recently, I was a Fedora guy, one who bled Fedora blue. There is a lot to be said about the way Fedora does things — from development on the engineering side to an design team that is second to none to a promotional side that has an army of informed and swag-stocked ambassadors promoting it. From a purely organizational and execution-of-objectives standpoint, Fedora does everything right and is the standard by which the operations of other distros should be judged.
The distro is not bad, either, but I digress.
Having been entrusted with leadership roles in the Fedora Project — I served briefly on the Fedora Ambassadors Steering Committee last year, as well as being a Fedora mentor and the guy in charge of supplying swag to Fedora folks in the US West Coast states — I have the playbook, so to speak, on how to run successful distro teams. Not that they mind, of course, since everything Fedora does is fairly transparent, and simple research could find out the knowledge I have through my experience.
But I’m new here and I don’t want to overstep any boundaries. It’s hard to find a way to couple my experience with my enthusiasm in now working with CrunchBang (if you’ll have me, that is) without sounding egotistical, arrogant or pushy, which I honestly don’t mean to be (no really, I don’t . . . ). Assuming this is a meritocracy like other FOSS projects, I have yet to put up the work to gain the community’s trust, and that part I’m working on. Also, I would imagine that there’s a “CrunchBang way” of doing things that I may yet be unaware of. So forgive me in advance if I am tripping over boundaries oafishly, and please point out the error of my ways.
Yet over the last six months, I’ve found that CrunchBang is an outstanding distro, and Philip Newborough has seemed to put a lot on the line to make it happen, both recently and in the past. That alone is inspiring — and if it doesn’t tug on your heart strings, a local coroner will be by shortly to do your autopsy — and he’s got good reason to put a lot on the line with the quality this distro provides. This “quality” stems not only from Philip’s guidance and work, but also from those of you who contributed back to the project in whatever form. From what I can tell, many of the CrunchBang users on the forums and the IRC channel are pretty knowledgeable folks willing to help — the forum itself stands out as a wealth of knowledge.
So all the pieces are here to make CrunchBang a more successful and a more popular distro, if that interests the community as a whole.
In the coming months, I would like to promote CrunchBang a little more agressively within FOSS circles — true, CrunchBang will not replace Ubuntu or Linux Mint or Fedora as a mainstream distro, but it does offer much to the Linux user who no longer needs training wheels, “trading up,” in a sense, from some of the more popular distros.
I have plans, ideas, etc., regarding how to raise CrunchBang’s visibility. But first, I should ask: Does anyone else want to discuss this further?
(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started testing developing software in his new home office in the redwood covered hills of Felton, California, USA. Watch this space.)