Graduation day

Earlier today, I posted a comment on the Introductions part of the forum on an introduction by a U.S. user named Diplo where, to my credit (I say, as I pat myself on the back), I resisted the temptation to go into full-lecture mode on the topic of whether “someone in the community can comment on the benefits of choosing CrunchBang, and even offer some advice or links to a newbie.”

I replied to Diplo on the forum itself, but I kept thinking about my response throughout the course of the day and what it means to be a Linux user; not just a Linux user, using a “mainstream” distribution — a concept that may have been unheard of 10 years ago — but a user of a unique, quality distro like CrunchBang.

Those of us non-developers and non-programmers who use CrunchBang on a daily basis by and large “graduated” to it after taking baby steps and using training wheels on another distro. Living digital lives around a desktop environment until we changed, it’s a step up to start using a window manager like Openbox, just as it’s an improvement to get comfortable with the command line instead of depending on GUI-based programs (though, as you know, I am always talking about using the GUI-based solutions in the forums, if they exist — I know that’s not very “leet,” but the folks who put the GUI-based solutions together deserve a nod and our thanks).

One thing I didn’t fully outline in the response to Diplo is that there is a wholeness or holistic — forgive me if the Californian is coming out — nature to CrunchBang where the cycle of an outstanding distro following a helpful community following a well-stocked forum leading back to the outstanding distro is complete. These items — an informed helpful community collecting a wide range of knowledge over time on a distro made by an outstanding lead developer — all together in the mix are essentially what makes CrunchBang great.

So it’s quite heartening to see those who are curious enough to see their hardware as a tool, not as a toy, and want to use the best tool for the job, so to speak, joining our ranks, knowing that many will stick around and become productive members of a growing CrunchBang community.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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4 responses to “Graduation day

  1. I grew up with Slackware and Red Hat, back when Slackware was at version 3.5 or something, and RH was still sold in a shiny box for $39.95. My path to Linux began with using Unix at work, and then to Andy Tannenbaum’s Minix and his book. I was, and I still am, basically charmed by the Unix way of doing things. So, I’m comfortable banging on the keyboard.

    These days, though, I am quite happy to go the GUI route as long as it gets the job done. Often, still, a GUI can be more trouble than it is worth. That happens when I need to spend time learning how to use some GUI tool to accomplish the same thing I can do quickly by opening a terminal. Other times, the GUI is the obvious way to go. In other words, GUI apps can follow the “do one thing well” principle of Unix, too. (I don’t like file managers, in particular.)

    Learning to use the command line successfully usually mean learning more about your OS, and that’s a commendable thing. But, having learned that, using a GUI doesn’t make you a lesser creature.

    (Besides, I built myself a nice expensive system with a big beautiful monitor that looks really good. I want my money’s worth out of all that pixel-pushing capability.)

    • Very true, jonc. The funny thing is that I get good-natured ribbing from some folks on the CrunchBang forum — mostly from rhowaldt — when someone gives a solution using a set of command line commands and then I pipe in, “Well, how about doing it with $GUI_BASED_PROGRAM?” I do appreciate, though, those on the forums who provide the CLI solution, though, because it gives everyone a lesson in how things work beneath the surface, which is valuable knowledge. Because of this, as I think I mentioned before, I learned more in the year I’ve been using CrunchBang than in the previous five years I’ve used other distros (mostly Fedora, but others as well). Needless to say, I’m grateful to the CrunchBang community for this.

  2. Well said Larry. The CrunchBang Community is one of kind with solutions that come from several angles. CorePa has created an amazing distro and following.

    I think it is also essential to mention that CrunchBang is based on the brilliance of Debian.

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