Wicked fast, but a hairball with a pedigree

I’ve been revisiting my erstwhile short-lived infatuation with Crux Linux again, once more on the 1Ghz machine I like to call home. Once I figured out how to synchronize my local ports against the updates at crux.nu with httpup, it turned into a fun experience.

Of course, the downside of the ridiculous speed boost (aside from the long compilation times) is the fact that it doesn’t … quite … behave like Ubuntu or Arch does. As a result, I’m relearning a lot of things I thought to easy to trouble with.

First, there’s the issue of software — Crux’s repositories lack some of the applications I prefer, most notably Mirage and Kazehakase. There is a port for Kazehakase posted on the wiki, but thus far it has not proven to work for me.

That I can suffer through though, since Firefox on Crux is quite usable at 1Ghz. I won’t go so far to say I like Firefox on Crux — I still consider it the poster child for bloatware — but I will admit that in a supersparse distro, it works reasonably well. Just remember: That’s only true because I skimped elsewhere … when what really should be “skimped” is Firefox.

There are some other idiosyncrasies that I feel obligated to mention, even for my own reference. What I thought were commonplace bash configuration files — .bashrc and .bash_profile — are completely ignored in Crux (unless I’m doing it wrong), meaning I have to directly edit /etc/profile and /etc/profile.bash just to change the PS1 prompt. Inconvenient, and somewhat heavy-handed, but it’s a solution.

But it also means things like a simple condition check to start up X at boot has to be arranged elsewhere. And on top of that, the settings I use in /etc/profile, etc., are ignored when I start a terminal emulator. It’s almost funny, really.

There are more little things … the $PATH settings are different for users and root, I believe, and that means a lot of the commands I was used to with Arch or Ubuntu need to be expanded in Crux. Again, minor, but again, a small setback.

I could go on. I’m learning a lot from Crux, and I continue to better appreciate a precompiled distro, while at the same time gaining a huge appreciation for the speed improvements in an unprecompiled one. This might sound strange, but I anticipate sharing some of these lessons in the next Ubuntu speed guide.

Which reminds me: That’s just around the corner, isn’t it? Hmm. …


2 thoughts on “Wicked fast, but a hairball with a pedigree

  1. Josh Kropf

    I actually started using Crux after reading one of your posts about it. And I have to say it’s probably my favorite distro right now. Suddenly my AMD 1.something GHz system feels like a super computer!

    As for your issues with bash, I’m not seeing this…

    I put env variable assignment in .bashrc (executed every time a new shell is create) and login time stuff in .bash_profile.

    To boot right into X, I modified /etc/inittab to auto-login my user account and then put a simple condition in .bash_profile that starts X if it’s not already started.

    I’ve got some notes in my wiki if you’re interested:

  2. K.Mandla Post author

    I’ll have to double-check my settings then. I know I’ve tampered with a lot of stuff in the past week, and so it’s possible I wired things wrong and that’s why it’s not working like I want. Thanks for the link; I’ll definitely check it out in the next day or so. 🙂


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