BunsenLabs Hydrogen – CrunchBang's lightweight successor

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BunsenLabs shows itself to be a worthy successor to the earlier and very popular CrunchBang distribution, and it also works on older computers. Once started, BunsenLabs takes up about 200MB of main memory so for systems having only 256MB of RAM, it is somewhat large. On the other hand, computers with 512MB of main memory have no problem handling this operating system.

Raw beginners will struggle with BL unless they are enthusiastic about the prospect of learning Openbox. MX Linux is the better suited distribution for beginners. BL lacks a proper beginner's manual (Figure 3), and it works much differently from Windows and Mac OS X. The KISS principle [7] runs like a thread through both the design and the features. Therefore, users with some Linux experience who value function over frills should definitely look at BunsenLabs.

Figure 3: There is sufficient reading material including tutorials.

The system is eminently configurable in terms of both appearance and the workings that go on under the hood. Debian Jessie provides a solid base for the version of the distribution presented here, and it is easy to run BL on top of the Testing or Unstable versions of Debian if updated software packages are needed. BL is very stable and its lean appearance guarantees speedy operation, free of visual distractions. The one-click installation saves time, although MX Linux is still a step ahead with this particular feature in terms of user friendliness. With the latter, a user can click once and install things like voice packages for browsers, Office, and Codecs.

Time will tell whether a well-functioning community can develop around BL, or whether divisions among numerous CrunchBang successors will prohibit this. It is clear that the community will comprise the determining factor in whether BL finds long-term success as a niche system.

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