CrunchBang Linux #!

Philip Newborough has taken the base flavor of Ubuntu, shaken a little bit of OpenBox on top, added a pinch of applications to suit his taste, and the result is CrunchBang Linux (#!). I’ve been running this now on two different systems, both of which are old and limited on resources, and I have been extrememly pleased with the results. After attempting (and failing) to create my own flavor of Ubuntu-light (base Ubuntu using a tiling window manager such as Awesome or Xmonad), I was very pleased to run across #!. I do still want to get a system up and running with a tiling window manager and see what that’s like, but in the mean time, #! is working well on my old PII and PIII laptops.

#! website:
#! Forum:
IRC: #crunchbang

Up until now, I’ve been using version 7.10.01. Version .02 came out today, and mostly seems to have just been updated with some more software and a modified theme. For the old systems that I am using #! on, I’d rather have a lighter weight OS and probably won’t use the apps that have been packaged in version .02, so for now, I’m sticking with the original version. I like the default theme better in .01 anyway too. The 7.10 in the version number specifies that the OS is based on Ubuntu 7.10, Gutsy Gibbon.

#! Linux on old PII Thinkpad

Anyway, I’ve been extremely pleased thus far with #! and plan to continue to use it. I recommend trying it out. Links to ISO’s and mirror sites can be found at the bottom of the #! project homepage.

Strings In The Mountains

This year, the Strings In The Mountains series brought The Infamous Stringdusters and Crooked Still to Steamboat Springs. Although both bands cleaned house, Crooked Still also mopped up the stage and cleaned the cob webs out of the stage lights. Amazing.

Rushad sat in front of me for a spell while the Stringdusters were on stage. His appearance was mostly normal save for the elven-sort of hat that he donned on his head like a top-knot. He shot out of his seat and disappeared once the Stringdusters left the stage. Once Crooked Still had been announced, wearing a bright and shiny pink satin suit with a red and white striped scarf around his neck, Rushad took to the stage as if he owned it.

Aoife was in prime form. Stunning voice. Stunning woman. Although I am in love with her voice, I am more in love with the entire sound that is called Crooked Still. Shaken by a low sound indeed.

Rushad was incredibly comical throughout the night. At one point, he was speaking as though he were an old gold miner (he was Railroad Bill I believe), as he explained to the audience about the gold rush of 1849. Aoife was surprised to learn that the term “forty-niners” refers to those who travelled west to California for the gold rush of 1849. Rushad went on prodding her when he asked her, “… Ever heard of the Denver Nuggets?” More comedy ensued when Rushad’s odd hat burst from his head in an explosion of brown and blond hair when he started “head-banging” during one of his instrumental solos. Visions of bass player Les Claypool (Primus) with a helicoptering Mohawk filled my head as Rushad seemingly scared the old couple in front of him up and out of their seats. I’m not sure if the couple ever returned or not. Aoife later commented on the incident stating that she felt bad and that she hoped that the couple would be back. After all, Strings is a somewhat classically-oriented music series. Rushad said multiple other things as well as performed a number of actions throughout the rest of the show that left me retching my gut in laughter. Aoife just kept looking puzzled as she kept asking Rushad, “…What are you doing???” Pretty funny.

Gregory Liszt’s banjo licks were on target with their music. Very spirited and all were a style of his own. Corey kept the music alive and off the ground with his bass.

Great show. I drove 3 hours to see Crooked Still and would do so again in a heartbeat. I wish that I had brought a camera with me to show Rushad’s pink suit. It was a sight to see. Perhaps we can get them to come to Fort Collins soon.

the good stuff…

Casey Driessen’s show was no less than spectacular, and Brother Mule cranked out an excellent selection of music. Thank you for including Fort Collins on the list of stops, and thank you also to the Swing Station and to Avo’s.

Steamboat Springs will be soon hosting its annual Strings In The Mountains music festival. Two bands that I am really looking forward to seeing there in June are Crooked Still and the Infamous Stringdusters. Here’s a little teaser of what I hope is soon to come…

Upcoming Shows | Week of May 7th, 2007

>> Casey Driessen is playing at the Swing Station in LaPorte on Wednesday. — $10

>> Brother Mule is playing this Thursday night at Avogadro’s Number at 8:00 pm. — $7.00

>> Also, check out this week’s film listing at the Lyric Cinema Cafe.

—–===[ Be there or be a big fat fruitcake. ]===—–

Kristin Andreassen | Aoife O’Donovan

As my friend Eddie says, “If only it were possible to marry a voice…”

Independent Film Cinema in Fort Collins

With the recent opening of the Lyric Cinema Cafe, the Fort Collins community now has an outlet for getting on an indie film fix. They are not just a movie house either; they offer food, a cafe-style caffeine fix, as well as serve up a small selection of local micro brews… which by the way, you can sip on while watching the evening’s feature presentation. You can check out their weekly movie schedule on their website:

Windows McPatchy Patch, Ultimate Addition

I ran across this today on Planet Ubuntu and had a good laugh.

Stack Overflow comic strip

Dell Leading The Way….

Dell to offer Solid State drives in Select Laptops:
What a great idea! Fewer moving parts may lead to greater longevity; a drive that is not spinning is much quieter; fast drive speeds are always a big plus. It will be interesting to see this catches on and more companies start offering flash technology in their portable machines. More info here…

Dell Now Offering Linux as Alternative OS:
Another Dell-related topic that has been big in the news lately in the Linux world is that, after having received a huge response to their IdeaStorm website regarding offering consumers a choice in operating systems, Dell will now offer consumer machines with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed. Dell has tried this in years past and it did not go over so well, but considering how far along Linux has come since then and also considering how many more Linux users are out there these days, I can only hope that Dell will receive greater support in their decision to offer this alternative choice in operating systems. I am very happy to see that Dell, a major computer manufacturer, has chosen to lead the way and set an example for all the world to see.

In my opinion, what will encourage consumers to support Dell’s decision to offer pre-installed Linux machines is if the machines will end up costing less than comparable machines that have Windows installed. If there is no significant price difference, then I am not so sure that Dell will receive the support that they will be looking for in order to continue to offer an alternative choice to consumers. As with myself, most Linux users that I know enjoy building their machine and customizing it personally as opposed to purchasing something that has a pre-installed OS. Part of the fun of running a Linux box is that you built it yourself. However, this brings up the purist question of even using an OS like Ubuntu, where everything is already compiled and built for you, so all you have to do is run the installation off of the CD; the other option is to custom build/compile your OS with Gentoo or Debian… or the more extreme alternative is to write your own OS from scratch. So, I guess that the level of the OS install is up to the user, and to some, purchasing a pre-installed Linux box may be just the ticket. Although I would possibly choose to reinstall the OS and customize things the way I like, I would still support purchasing a pre-installed Linux box. Great idea! I sincerely hope that it takes off, and I hope that this does not somehow come back around to bite the open source movement in the ass in some backwards way.

Ututo Linux

Lately, I have been seeing references to Ututo Linux in various places, and I decided that it was time to try it out. Ututo is Gentoo-based, which is intriguing to me. In my mind, what makes Gentoo so great is that it is fully customizable; you can make it as light or as robust as you want it to be, and you can completely configure it for the hardware on your machine. The drawback is that it takes a long time to build your box, whereas most other mainstream (and less configurable) Linux distributions can be installed in less than one or two hours. This is one of the benefits of having a pre-packaged Gentoo distribution is that you can have your machine up and running in no time flat.

I found the Ututo installation to be very simple and straight forward. No big surprises found. Although I did not time the installation process, it seemed to take only an hour or so. The Ututo developers have created pre-configured versions for various processor types, so you download the right ISO for your machine’s processor. That makes it pretty easy. They also have made a live-cd version (it’s in Spanish; you have the option to change the language at login, but Spanish seems to be what you get once you log in) for those who wish to test drive Ututo, but this is a separate ISO that you have to download so if you wish to install this distribution, you will have to download the flavor that is associated with your ISO or install from source.

Once installed, I found that the interface was easy to use and was not at all complicated. Gnome is the desktop manager that the Ututo developers have chosen to use, which I am plenty happy with. They also include the IceWM window manager, which I had never used before; seemed pretty light-weight and easy to use; the default Windows XP look that comes up when you log in with IceWM sort of turned me off though.

Being a Gentoo derivative, installation of packages in Ututo seemed to be mostly source-based. I must admit that being primarily a (U, X, Flux, nU…)buntu user these days, I have become lazy and accustomed to the convenience of using Synaptic as my package manager, along with apt-get. Although I did not spend enough time working with Ututo to find out, I believe that one could set the system up to work with Portage.

Ututo comes with a nice set of tools, such as Bluefish and the Gimp. Although I did not spend a great deal of time testing Ututo, it seemed like a very stable platform, and is one that I would like to spend more time testing some time soon. The interface was clean and easy to work with. The only negative thing that I would have to say about Ututo is that I don’t care for the sharp cursor arrow and for the creepy hand with the pointing finger that is displayed when hovering the mouse cursor over a hyperlink; it looks like a gobblin hand or something like that (perhaps a change in themes would change this?). Minor detail though. Ututo is a nice alternative if you are wanting to use Gentoo but you don’t want to spend days on your Gentoo install. Kudos to the Ututo development team.

Some Disheartening News

I get a kick out of the insults that a Debian distribution can give you when you type in an incorrect sudo password. It’s a kick to mistype my password and for my box to come back with remarks like, “I’ve seen penguins that can type better than that,” or “You type like I drive,” or “Maybe if you used more than just two fingers…”  If you don’t know how to set this up, check here.

While searching online today to see if I could locate the actual file that contains the list of insults, I ran across some disappointing discussions amongst some in the Linux community. Basically, a number of people were talking bad about Ubuntu, that it is associated with fanboyism, and that Ubuntu is not a “real” distro. One individual went so far as to purchase a domain name of, which ironically links to a site that advertises MS Windows ME, which was probably the worst OS that Microsoft ever came out with. My question to these people is that aren’t we all on the same team, working together to promote the open source movement? Are the reasons that we have each chosen to use Linux not similar in nature? Why don’t we then forge ahead as a community. That is one of the things that has attracted me so much to Ubuntu is the community support that exists behind the project, and not just with Ubuntu, but also with Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Fluxbuntu, and even nUbuntu. Community; it’s a great thing. So many are pushing this project to higher levels, and so many are out there supporting other users — it’s community supporting community. Isn’t that the essence of the South African word “Ubuntu”? From Wikipedia:

  • “Humanity towards others”
  • “I am because we are”
  • “I am what I am because of what we all are”
  • “A person ‘becomes human’ through other persons”
  • “A person is a person because of other persons”

Who am I to tell you how to think? These words that I write, take them or leave them. My opinion is to each his/her own. Not that you care, but a little while back, I started thinking about all of the Linux distributions that I have worked with just in the last couple of years. The list was larger than I had expected, and I will display it below, but the point of the list is to show that even after having used a number of distros, Ubuntu was what I eventually migrated to in the end… and that I did not immediately migrate to Ubuntu because it seemed like the cool thing to do; in fact, in my earlier experiences with Linux, I thought that Ubuntu sounded stupid, but that was simply due to my own ignorance at the time. What eventually attracted me to Ubuntu was the solid community base, the concept/idea behind Ubuntu, the meaning of Ubuntu and the sense of character that is embodied by both the word (“Ubuntu”) as well as the project as a whole, and the stability and flexibility that the OS has to offer. So, here is the list of distros that I have worked with, and contained in parenthesis () is the number of builds that I have performed with each of those distros. Keep in mind that Ubuntu was one of the last ones that I used, and was what I liked using the most. Each OS taught me something different about using Linux, and I would have to say that manual Gentoo and Debian builds taught me the most.

Gentoo (6 builds), Debian (2), SuSE 10.0 (2), FedoraCore 3 (2), FedoraCore 4 (2), FedoraCore 5 (1), PC-BSD (1), Agnula (1), DamnSmallLinux (4), Freespire (1), Ubuntu (1), Xubuntu (7), Kubuntu (1), Ubuntu Server Edition (2), and Fluxbuntu (I have now worked with Dapper, Edgy and Feisty versions of ‘buntu’s). I have also worked with a number of Live-CD distributions, some of which include Gentoo, DSL, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, BackTrack, Knoppix, Basilisk, nUbuntu, and Mandriva.

Linux has become a bit of a passion for me. Just can’t seem to let myself get too far from one of my computers. For more than a week now, I’ve been using the new Feisty Fawn Beta version of Xubuntu, and I’ve got to say that I am really impressed; great job Ubuntu and Xubuntu teams! Thank you for all that you do!

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-==[ Hilltop_Yodeler ]==-

Welcome to HilltopYodeler, a place where we'll do some hollerin' about Linux, OSS/FOSS, CSS/XHTML, pickin', paddlin', tinkering, snow, rock, bicycles, and other stuff that we're freaky for. Much of what will be discussed here will be related to Ubuntu Linux, Debian Linux, Crunchbang (#!) Linux, Damn Small Linux, OpenBox, PekWM, and Gnome. Grab your coffee... pick up your piolet... tuck in your whiskey nipper... have paddle in hand... grease your boards... bend some wires... plug into your lappie, mow down some sushi... and get your fool-freak yodel on!