It has been over two months since I posted — hope all of you enjoyed the quiet — and I can only plead guilty to being extremely busy over the last several weeks with various family duties, teaching my Python course for middle/high schoolers and general curveballs that life throws at one when one isn’t paying attention.
But I digress.
While Philip Newborough gets the latest version of CrunchBang up and running — and while the community tests and hacks around this upcoming version, of course — many folks have been taking a look at CrunchBang and liking what they see. Many of them who decide to take the plunge are first-time Linux users, according to their introductions in the aptly named “Introduction” forum.
Normally, I cringe when a new Linux user starts off with CrunchBang. Perhaps the cold sweat that beads on my brow comes from my own experience with trying to compile Gentoo as the third distro I tried sometime in 2006; in the six years of using Linux and FOSS, I’ve never gotten Gentoo to run (Gentoo folks, don’t flame me: Clearly it’s operator error in this case and has nothing to do with your outstanding distro. Honest). I can’t remember the fourth distro I tried, but I would be willing to bet it was a galloping retreat to something very easy to install and run.
Yet several days ago, the CrunchBang community member known to all as pvsage posted something on one introductee’s thread that changed my mind about CrunchBang being only for experienced Linux users. I can’t find pvsage’s post to quote it directly, but I can paraphrase it. It said something to the effect of, “Well, if you came to learn Linux, CrunchBang is the place to be.”
And he is absolutely right. I am taking another look at pointing new users to something more familiar to their Windows/Mac “comfort zone.” It’s very easy to point someone to Ubuntu or Linux Mint or Fedora (yes, Fedora — those who say it’s too “cutting edge” for new users haven’t used it lately) and say, “come back when your ready for CrunchBang.” But I now realize that this is very short-sighted, to say nothing of cheating the inspired new user to learn the wealth of information our Debian-based distro provides.
So I’m changing my tune, so to speak: For those who are interested in learning and growing with a distro, you’re definitely in the right place. The forums are a great place to find answers, both those that have already been answered — use that handy, dandy search field in the upper right — or those that haven’t been given yet and are waiting for the right question to be asked. Also, as an aside, it’s important “how” you ask the question, and I wrote about this a while ago here.
Besides, it’s not like we’re throwing you in to the deep end of the pool and saying to you, “now, swim.” That would be Gentoo (OK, last Gentoo joke, guys and gals. Don’t flame me).
So, again, if you’re a “newb” and you really, really like CrunchBang as your introduction to Linux, and you are inspired enough to learn how Linux works, then by all means, you’re in the right place with CrunchBang. Training wheels are not needed here.
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.