Much involves the DE(WM)

Story: The best Linux netbook distroTotal Replies: 5
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Jun 12, 2012
2:56 PM EDT
The author of this piece determines that the three most important "factors to determine the right Linux distro for your netbook" are

- It must be light-weight

- It should not use too much desktop screen

- It must be compatible with the hardware

Arguably, the key comparison differentiating the netbook distros mentioned here is the second factor; the desktop screen, and by extension, the DE/WM.

A concurrent LXer post 'It’s Time for Canonical to Stop Protecting Unity ' linked to at also weighs in on the general appropriateness of DE's, in this case, on Ubuntu's Unity. In this particular Linux netbook piece, the author here is quite positive on Ubuntu's Unity for netbooks. At the same time, the author here is also netbook-positive on the LXDE and XFCE in Ubuntu variants Lubuntu and Xubuntu respectively.

The netbook distro Bodhi uses the Enlightenment (E17) WM, which should come as little surprise, given the Bodhi project creator's continued updates on this Ubuntu offshoot, e.g., yesterday's LXer post 'A Bodhi Linux 2.0.0 FAQ' found at

OTOH, in what may be something of a surprise, two fairly different netbook distros BOTH use the Openbox WM; the Arch-based ArchBang and the Debian-based Crunchbang. Although highly-touted by their respective userbases (e.g., Crunchbang in, neither of these very-evolved Openbox-using netbook distros is as popularly written about as is each one of the above netbook distros. The most popular of these two, Crunchbang, has hardly even been among the top 25 distros at DistroWatch.


Jun 28, 2012
2:42 PM EDT
Good observation, vainrveenr, and thank you very, very much for the blog plug.

I'm not a netbook user and I found the article a little light on information. Be that as it may, I did want to elaborate on something you said above regarding the DistroWatch numbers.

I give a regular talk about CrunchBang to whomever will listen (and it was given last at Linux Fest Northwest) and it usually includes the distro's, um, "popularity" somewhere along the line: CrunchBang usually lives in the 20s on the DistroWatch list -- not that this is a good barometer of distro use (a debate for another time) -- and has ranged from 22 to the mid-40s on any of the different time ranges (i.e., last 30 days, last 6 months, etc.).

Some distros would kill for numbers like that, but CrunchBang takes it pretty much in stride. Lead developer Philip Newborough has said, "It is a common mistake to think that every developer wants their project to be widely popular." CrunchBang clearly isn't for everyone and doesn't try to be -- that's one of its many strengths.

I'm not familiar with CrunchEEE mentioned in the article, but someone else might be.

Thanks again for the plug.


Jun 28, 2012
7:48 PM EDT
Larry, how's the new Wheezy-based CrunchBang looking? And have you tested Fedora 17 LXDE or Xfce?

Jun 28, 2012
9:14 PM EDT
CrunchBang runs zippety-quick on my HP Mini netbook. It's the 32-bit Debian stable + backports, using kernel 3.2 and 7.6.

Jul 03, 2012
12:58 PM EDT
Steven_Rosenber: It's looking pretty good, actually. No, I haven't tested Fedora 17 LXDE or Xfce yet, but I have tried the Fedora 17 PPC version (I think it's the beta). Still needs tweaking but good that someone's other than Debian is keeping an eye out for a great, albeit rarely used, architecture.

Jul 03, 2012
2:35 PM EDT
Also worth mentioning when you talk about PPC support are Frugalware and Lubuntu, which both have official support.

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