Geek Moment: Shiny New CrunchBang Linux

CrunchBang Linux is an operating system based ona philosophy of lean code and usability. It doesn't aim to be the easiest version of Linux, but for someone with a moderate amount of computer ability it's straightforward and not bloated.

The upcoming version switches to the proven and stable base of Debian. This is version 10, named “Statler,” (naming is based on Muppet characters) and the alpha version available now has been receiving an enthusiastic reception from the CrunchBang community - a number commenting that it's more stable than many distros' final releases.

Now, while I'd love to see a stable Linux distro that works for everybody, a version that works extremely nicely for semi-geeks like myself is very, very welcome.

via Release Notes - CrunchBang Linux 10 Alpha 2 ~ CrunchBang Linux Wiki.

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Appropriate software design

It makes sense to have an option only if an unsophisticated user can understand what it does and how to set it.  Otherwise you should Do The Right Thing for those users.

That's a comment from an LXDE developer on their mailing list. LXDE is a Linux desktop environment (i.e. user interface) with a focus is on lean code, and a level of usability appropriate to new users. Principles like the one above are central to what makes the project work so well.

Of course it can be more complex - it can be good to have advanced options, as long as they're marked as such, and the default is suitable for regular users.

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Usability in blogs and stoves

Design prototypes in Myanmar. Which is cooler?

Over at 3brick design, a project spawned from Stanford's Extreme Affordability class, they take user-centered design seriously, and respect the dignity of the people they're trying to serve. The examples they've displayed so far look elegant and functional - I'll be interested to see what they come up with.

One thing is sure: it's unlikely to be a single design. As the context changes, the appropriate technology for the situation tends to change as well. Do the users mainly frying or do slow cooking, for example?

Showing that they think about their users in more than just a cooking context, the project has chosen a nice lean blog skin for WordPress called Darwin, designed to be fast-loading and easy on the eye. Good work.

Picture credit: "3 bricks. Many users." at the Stanford Cool Product Expo blog.

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