by Dietrich Schmitz
Truly, there's only a handful which I really do think will be around in five years and while I talk about Pimping out the Desktop and extol the virtues of one package manager verses another, I had one indelible experience using one particularly unique speed demon--#! CrunchBang.
Yes, my friends, speed freaks, Debian devotees, if you long for minimalism, stability, lightweight, low-memory consumption, then this Distro is most certainly worthy of your consideration--so much so, I felt the need to include it in my Top Ten Sleeper Distros Story.
CrunchBang Waldorf 11 went into production May 6, 2013 directly on the heels of Debian 7 Wheezy which was released May 4, 2013. It was a long wait for those who long for all things Debian, but it arrived. Finally. I think if I had to go back to any Debian derivative, it would be #!. It's got everything a your average technophile could wish for. And, I would be remiss if I didn't mention we have +Philip Newborough to thank for that.
While I put my backpack on and road across the Linux Distro vast expanse in search of a home last summer in flight from Ubuntu, I came across CrunchBang and discovered one of the few 'sweet spots' that lay hidden from plain view.
This isn't a commercial Distro. But it has thorough-bred traits about it. The installer was smooth, post-install has a quite thoughtful shell script which will take the user through steps to add further customizations, including selecting additional applications. That is something other Distros don't do for the most part and they should really take note. Nicely done.
The fact that it was beta at the time I tried #! didn't deter me. I will say I had zero, zed, null, nil, empty set  issues with CrunchBang.
The Desktop GUI is one which you really don't see too often--not often enough in my opinion--OpenBox-- probably one of the best lightweight Stacking Window Managers, which when combined with LXDE components and tint2 panel exhibits simplicity and monochromatic pure elegance in the default color scheme used by #!. That combined with the use of Conky and easy to remember superkeys which are in the Desktop heads-up display makes flying around the system a pure unadulterated delight. One right-click and up pops the OpenBox minimalist menu, which really is quite adequate when you quickly adjust to this method for finding your applications.
It is a solid Distro, replete with access, of course, to the vast Debian repository and will most assuredly satisfy the appetite of many gear heads and Developers alike, Joe-Six-Pack even.
So, I am not so much a snob as to be reluctant to make a recommendation, you know.
It's just that we all have our own bias, yes? Yes we do each and every one of us. It's like wine, which when tried cultivates an interest in one vineyard's stock over another. You reach the point where you naturally 'prefer' one over another and that's only a natural consequence. Knowing what sets one Distro apart from another is like appreciating a fine wine.
So, break out the cork-screw, if you will, and crack open a bottle of CrunchBang and decide for yourself. You'll be pleasantly surprised. Clink. Cheers!