CrunchBang offers a lightweight but powerful Linux desktop
On the functionality side of things, it's worth knowing that CrunchBang is built on Ubuntu. Finding additional applications and support is an easy task, thanks to Ubuntu's popularity and its enthusiastic community.
Instead of a bulkier window manager like Gnome or KDE, CrunchBang utilizes the more minimalist Openbox. Though Openbox is highly configurable and capable of the same kind of eye candy as other WMs, CrunchBang's default setup is lean and mean.
Those who, like me, are still getting their feet wet with Linux will appreciate the "cheat sheet" on the right side of the desktop. It contains a list of handy keyboard shortcuts to help you get started.
I always also glad to see that the sleep function on my notebook worked without a hitch in CrunchBang - which came as a bit of a surprise since it did not work in Ubuntu. Performing a hard drive install is a breeze and the boot time afterward clocked in at a respectable 35 seconds on my laptop. Once it's running, CrunchBang just gets out of the way and lets you get down to business with your applications.
CrunchBang is available in three varieties: standard, lite, and CrunchEee (customized for Asus Eee PC netbooks). If you're after a ready-to-use desktop, the standard version is for you. It includes many popular apps like Pidgin, Skype, AbiWord, Gnumeric, Gimp, and Deluge. You can, of course, add them to the lite version through Synaptic, apt-get, or GDebi.