Updated CrunchBang Statler images
Nov 26, 2011 (about 1 year ago)
Yesterday, I made available some updated CrunchBang Statler images. I have made a good number of changes to Statler, probably more than I should have, but the changes were considered and needed to be made in order to progress.
In many ways, the new images are not really about additional features, but more about what has been removed and/or cleaned up (although there are a few new features to look forward to).
I guess the main thing to have been removed/retired is the Xfce version. I love Xfce and I thought about this long and hard, but I really want to concentrate on making CrunchBang give the best possible out-of-the-box Openbox experience possible. Besides, there are plenty of brilliant Xfce based distributions available, and if you know what you are doing, installing Xfce under Debian is really not too difficult.
GDM is the other big loser, being replaced by SLiM. This is something which should probably have happened a long time ago. Traditionally, I have always used GDM and for the most part, it just worked, but in comparison to SLiM, it is a bit of a beast. Also, while I was content with using the legacy GDM packages, I do not think that GDM3 is something I would like to see included with CrunchBang, and so the move to SLiM seemed obvious. I know that other display/login managers are available, but SLiM seems to do the job nicely at the moment. Moving to SLiM has also meant that I needed to make some changes to CrunchBang’s custom logout/shutdown/reboot script, which now relies on HAL. This may, or may not prove problematic at some point in the future, but for Squeeze based systems, it should be fine.
Plymouth, the graphical boot loader, has also gone from the default install. The decision to remove it was really a personal preference. I apologise to any bling lovers, but personally, I believe that graphical boot loaders take away more than they give. Also, CrunchBang is not really an exercise in branding and so removing a flashing logo is not a problem at all.
Other changes include:
Openbox 3.5 — the latest and greatest release. You might want to check the changelog on the Openbox website as a number of significant changes have been made.
Iceweasel/Firefox 8 replaces Chromium 9 — CrunchBang seems to switch back-and-forth between default browsers, probably like a lot of users do. I do not think this is problem, but merely reflects the state of browser development and availability at the time. Having said that Firefox seems to be getting better with each release and the mozilla.debian.net team are doing a fantastic job of keeping up with the new release schedule. So, I have mirrored the mozilla.debian.net repository and will keep it in sync. Also, for any Google Chrome and/or Opera users, there is a new Openbox pipemenu for installing these browsers with minimal effort, and a menu item for setting the system’s default x-www-browser.
Geany replaces gedit — I spend much of my day in my editor and until a few months ago that editor had always been gedit. Then someone suggested I take a look at Geany, so I did and it won me over. Geany is a fantastic editor, is highly configurable, has lots of great plugins and maybe just as importantly, is DE independent.
Gigolo and Thunar for managing connections to remote filesystems — in the past, some reviewers have mentioned the fact that there has not been an easy way to mount and browse remote filesystems through the default file manager. I have addressed this by including Gigolo and configuring it to work out-of-the-box with Thunar. It is now super simple to connect to remote filesystems via SSH, Samba etc.
Improved D-I preseeding — all packages related to the LiveCD are now completely purged during the installation process, resulting in a much cleaner system.
Linux kernel 2.6.39 replaces 2.6.32 — this is the kernel from the Debian backports repository. Debian backports are enabled by default.
LibreOffice replaces OpenOffice.org — actually, CrunchBang ships with AbiWord and Gnumeric, but many people choose to install a more feature rich office suite via the CrunchBang post installation script. The script has been changed to suggest LibreOffice.
New repository locations — as part of my ongoing work to move domains from crunchbanglinux.org to crunchbang.org, the repositories for these builds have been moved. Also, a new website is being constructed, but is very much a work in progress. Apologies if this causes any inconvenience or confusion to anyone. I will write more about this at some point in the future.
Many more minor and cosmetic changes.
A note to any existing Statler users: if you are happy with your current installation, I would suggest keeping it. However, if you are interested in using the new images, I would recommend backing up your data and performing a clean install. Ultimately, for reasons which I hope are obvious after reading this post, a clean install will take less time and will result in a cleaner system than if you try to bring your existing installation in line with the new Statler repositories. Apologies again if this causes any inconvenience, but in the long run, I hope it will be worth it.
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