Booting up the system took about 35 to 40 seconds from power-on to the log-in prompt, and about 17 seconds to log in; these times are not quite as good as our results when we tested Peppermint Ice Linux on the same netbook.
There's no special Start-button style menu; instead you get two virtual desktops (with, thanks to Conky, a readout of current memory usage, CPU utilisation, etc., as well as a handy guide to keyboard shortcuts). Crunchbang uses the lightweight OpenBox window manager, with tint2 providing a taskbar that lets you switch between virtual desktops and applications.
Right-clicking on the desktop opens a menu for running applications, accessing system settings or help, or shutting down your computer. There are GUI tools for altering settings like the window theme, but you also get the option to open many configuration files and edit them directly. It's obvious that CrunchBang is designed for people who have a penchant for customising their setups. The CrunchBang site provides a handy wiki with tips and advice, and there is also an active set of forums.
If you want a not-too-resource-intensive Linux distro for a netbook or running on an older PC, CrunchBang is definitely worth a look. It's probably better for people that like to tinker with their operating system's look and feel and get things Just Right, rather than someone looking for an out-of-the-box desktop system bedecked with widgets and fancy graphics from the get-go. You should also take note of the website's disclaimer: "CrunchBang Linux is not recommended for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage. CrunchBang Linux could possibly make your computer go CRUNCH! BANG!"
All up, if you're the kind of user who is after a Linux distro that isn't bloated and will give you a great base for customising your system then you should think about checking it out. And we love the name.
Kernel: 2.6.32-5-686Window manager: OpenboxBased on: DebianPackage management: APT