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I'm trying to get CrunchBang to work on a 10.04 base and I was wondering whether there exists a distribution that still has drivers and synaptic perhaps, but not all the other stuff like AbiWord and such.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

For you own custom Ubuntu, you can install the absolute basics from the alternate or server CD, add the ubuntu-desktop package to install X and other related essentials if you plan to use the machine from the desktop and then just add the bits you want (firefox if you want to use it as the browser, build-essential if you plan to compile anything on that box, and so on - the "recommended packages" list for ubuntu-desktop is a good place to look for obvious things you might otherwise forget at first).

The initial install this way requires more Linux experience as you will be using the Debian text-based installer and not the more automatic and friendly graphical one, but there is no rocket surgery or brain science required. Until you have synaptic installed you'll need to use apt/aptitude to add packages which again is less obvious but not difficult.

Or you could just do a normal install and remove the packages you do not want, followed by running aptitude clean to remove the clutter from your local package cache. This won't be as minimal and may take longer (installing more initially only to take it away again) but may be good enough for your needs.

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have you considered compiling your own livecd? get everything you want, nothing you don't.

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That's a very subjective question - what is useless to you might be precious to the next person. I'm not sure why you want to go not-quite-minimalist, but you can always un-install anything you don't need/want. Might take a lot of effort to fine-tune, but if you see that much benefit then just do it.

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If you install Synaptic, it's not going to be a very light install because that depends on GTK, which depends on X, which needs a window manager or something, etc. etc. etc. Also, if you install GNOME at all, it'll install all the default GNOME apps: all 50ish of them.

There are many JeOS (Just enough OS, as they're called) distros out there, for example, OpenSuSe has one, Ubuntu does, and they do pretty much what you described (except, as said above, Synaptic). Problem is, they often don't come with much of any good drivers, so you may want to just stick to the server edition, which should be light enough, but have all the drivers needed.

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