CrunchBang 11 Waldorf

CrunchBang 11 has been released so it’s time for a review. I last looked at CrunchBang back in 2009. Wow! Has it been that long? I’m pleased to report that CrunchBang 11 didn’t disappoint in any way.

If you aren’t familiar with it, Crunchbang 11 is a distro based on Debian. It uses the Openbox window manager. Openbox is very fast and minimalistic. You won’t find tons of useless eye candy or stupid interface glitz in CrunchBang 11. It’s not bloated and slow, nor does it try to “wow” you with things you don’t need or want.

Frankly, it’s one of the most functional and efficient distros available today. You can run it on top of the line hardware, or you can run it on older, slower machines. It’s a perfect choice for anyone who prefers functionality over form.

CrunchBang 11 Preinstall Boot Menu
CrunchBang 11 Preinstall Boot Menu

Here’s the official description of CrunchBang:

CrunchBang is a Debian GNU/Linux based distribution offering a great blend of speed, style and substance. Using the nimble Openbox window manager, it is highly customisable and provides a modern, full-featured GNU/Linux system without sacrificing performance.

The primary aim of the CrunchBang project is to produce a stable distribution offering the best possible out-of-the-box Openbox experience. To achieve this goal, CrunchBang pulls many base packages directly from Debian’s repositories, which are well-known for providing stable and secure software. Packages from CrunchBang’s own repositories are then customised and pinned to the system to produce what is known as the CrunchBang distro.

Put simply; CrunchBang could be thought of as a layer built on top of Debian, specifically to provide a great Openbox experience.

What’s New in CrunchBang 11

I was not able to find a list of changes or new features on the CrunchBang site. I encourage the CrunchBang developers to create a “What’s New” page for future releases. It makes the job of reviewers much easier. See how Linux Mint does it for their distro releases.

System Requirements for CrunchBang 11

I was not able to find a list of system requirements either. Since CrunchBang 11 is based on Debian, you can use that as a reference point for system requirements.

CrunchBang 11 Download

You can download CrunchBang 11 from this page. The file I downloaded weighed in at 775 MB.

If you’re a distrohopper then you might want to try it in a virtual machine via VirtualBox before running it on real hardware.

You can get CrunchBang 11 in 32-bit or 64-bit versions. I opted for the 64-bit release.

CrunchBang 11 Installation

The CrunchBang 11 installer is quite good. It offers a guided partitioning option, and it’s very fast. Even total newbies shouldn’t have a problem installing CrunchBang 11. You have the option of jumping into the install or running a live session.

After the install is complete, and you boot into the desktop, a script will run in a terminal window. The script gives you the option of updating your system, installing Java as well as LibreOffice. You can also install development packages.

I like LibreOffice, so I used the script to add it to my system so I wouldn’t have to bother later.

CrunchBang 11 Install Guided Disk Partitioning
CrunchBang 11 Install Guided Disk Partitioning
CrunchBang 11 Install Disk Scheme
CrunchBang 11 Install Disk Scheme
CrunchBang 11 Install GRUB
CrunchBang 11 Install GRUB
CrunchBang 11 Post Install Script
CrunchBang 11 Post Install Script

The CrunchBang 11 Desktop

If you’re used to other distros, you might be slightly freaked out by CrunchBang 11 when you boot into the desktop. You won’t find garish wallpaper or 3D doodads. Instead, you’ll see a dark grey background.

CrunchBang 11 Desktop
CrunchBang 11 Desktop

On the right you’ll see system information and shortcut keys. Take note of the shortcut keys as they can be quite useful.

CrunchBang 11 Desktop System Info and Shortcut Keys
CrunchBang 11 Desktop System Info and Shortcut Keys

To access applications, system settings, etc. just right click on the desktop and a menu will popup.

CrunchBang 11 Desktop Menu
CrunchBang 11 Desktop Menu
CrunchBang 11 Wallpaper
CrunchBang 11 Wallpaper
CrunchBang 11 Look and Feel Menu
CrunchBang 11 Look and Feel Menu
CrunchBang 11 File Manager
CrunchBang 11 File Manager

Linux Software Included in CrunchBang 11

Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release. CrunchBang 11 comes with some well chosen applications that should meet the needs of most users. It doesn’t overwhelm you with gobs of applications though, and I liked that.

Viewnior Image Viewer

gFTP Client
XChat IRC Client
Remote Filesystems
Remote Desktop

Note that you also have the option of installing Chromium, Chrome or Opera in the browsers menu. Dropbox and VNC Server are also offered.

VLC Media Player
Volume Control

Google Docs
Abiword Word Processor
Gnumeric Spreadsheet
Evince PDF Viewer

Linux Software Management Tools in CrunchBang 11

If you need more software, or you just want to remove something, you can fire up Synaptic. Or you can simply use Apt at the command line. Synaptic is not the most elegant software management tool available, but it is quite powerful. Once you learn to use it, it can be a terrific tool.

However, I also understand that it can be somewhat daunting for newer folks.

CrunchBang 11 Synaptic Package Manager
CrunchBang 11 Synaptic Package Manager

Problems & Headaches Found in CrunchBang 11

I had no problems installing or running CrunchBang 11. It worked very well for me.

But if you’ve run into any problems, please share them in the comments. It’s always helpful if readers are given a heads up about potential pitfalls before installing a distro. Thanks in advance.

Where To Get Help for CrunchBang 11

If you’re having problems, please post your questions in the comments below or register for the DLR forum. Other readers might be able to assist you. You might also want to check out the CrunchBang Linux forum, or IRC channel.

If you’re new to Linux, you might want to check out some of the books available about it at Amazon. You can learn quite a bit that you will probably find useful later on. You can also save lots of money with deals on laptops and tablets, desktops and monitors, components, and computer accessories.

Final Thoughts About CrunchBang 11

These days it seems that lots of distros and other operating systems are adding tons of glitz and glitter to desktop interfaces. CrunchBang 11 does the complete opposite. Frankly, it’s a breath of fresh air and I enjoyed it. It was fast, stable and did what I wanted it to do. It never bogged me down in useless desktop drivel.

CrunchBang 11 should particularly please those looking for a minimalistic distro. You’ll know right away if you’re that kind of user. You want speed and functionality, not useless and stupid eye candy. In that sense, CrunchBang 11 delivers in spades.

CrunchBang 11 is recommended for intermediate and advanced Linux users. Beginners who want a taste of a minimalistic distro should also consider trying it.

What’s your take on CrunchBang 11? Tell me in the comments below.

38 thoughts on “CrunchBang 11 Waldorf

  1. Anyone looking to install crunchbang from a bootable USB should use UNetbootin to make the bootable USB as it won’t work with any other program.

  2. I would not recommend Crunchbang to my worse enemy and this review is a a typically superficial and impractical revew that serves to mislead.

    Crunchbang uses Iceweasel, a derivative from FIrefox, because the purists at Crunchbang do not want the branded Firefox product.

    Iceweasel is unsupportable and full of bugs. For example, you can attempt to switch default search engines (I don’t want to use Google unless I have to and prefer the privacy of StartPage) it completely screws the search box and reading comments on the Crunchbang site, these are recurring problems that can cost you time. Loading Firefox as an alternative is a mess in Crunchbang.

    The Crunchbang site uses a silly black background that makes it very difficult to read. You can change your browser to get rid of this ridiculously prententious display but I think it might be wise to avoid any product that has such an unreadable background in its forum.

    Openbox does not allow you to automatically add to menus. OK you can edit various files to add but WHY bother. Other lightweight, fast distros have more 21st Century facilities.

    I use a mobile connection so downloaded ISOs cost me money and now I have to spend half a day re-building a new OS (I’m going back to Bodhi which is fast, looks superb and is a million light years better than Crunchbang).

    It is these types of superficial reviews that gives Linux a bad name and I suggest that if you find a review that focuses on the install features of a package (which you only need to invoke once in a year or so) then search again for reviews that actually tell you more about real practical pluses and minuses.

  3. One major problem. You assume that everyone using it is connected to the internet via an ethernet cable! What about those of us who have wireless only? There is no way to enter that, so CB 11 is a total failure!

    There must be something to click to discover the wifi points ………………..but what? There are no hints in the menu!

    1. I installed yesterday Crunchbang using a desktop with a wireless card and I didn’t have any problems. If I remember well, there is an option when is trying to access internet and shows a message saying that you need to configure your wireless connection so if everything is all set in your router you just select your wifi and enter password if needed and you are all set. Even with the live version you could just click on the network icon and configure your wireless.

  4. I have tried Waldorf from both dvd and usb, and neither is installable to hard drive, because selecting the ‘install’ option at boot results in kernel panic.

    I can only presume that Crunchbang 11 is purely a live distro that is not meant to be installed.

    1. This bug is an old one going back to Debian 7.0 and typically has not been resolved.

      But there is a solution, that does not seem to appear anywhere on the Crunchbang forums, etc.

      At boot into the live cd, arrow down to ‘Install’ and hit Tab, which will show a dialog.

      Backspace to ‘vga=’, then write, without quotes, ‘normal quiet netcfg/disable_dhcp=true debian-installer/framebuffer=false file=/cdrom/install/crunchbang.cfg’, so the last line reads:

      vga=normal quiet netcfg/disable_dhcp=true debian-installer/framebuffer=false file=/cdrom/install/crunchbang.cfg

      Hit enter, and installation should continue as normal.

      (Adapted from: with thanks to Keith Parkansky

      1. Thanks for your help!
        I spent app. 3 hours by testing various instructions to install the system but only your manual is really working one!

        Thanks a lot!

  5. I have been having trouble with crunchbang recognizing my android phone when hooked up through usb, can anyone help?

  6. I’ve used it as my main OS for about 6 weeks now, replacing Linux Mint completely. It’s fast, stable, fun and simple. I think even newbies would enjoy using it as so little can go wrong. The only issue I would raise is that it is easy to create a full install to your machine but to create a dual boot involves partitioning your drive beforehand to create enough free space to allow the crunchbang partitioning tool to create the two partitions necessary for the install – this is not the most trivial of steps for a newbie.

  7. Installing on a Compaq CQ-10 was a breeze. Although Crunchbang is described as a minimalist distro, the installation process is carefully designed. This little netbook had a debian based xfce distro, now Crunchbang boots to desktop in almost half the time!

  8. f ing awesome crashed a modded ubuntu laptop all i had on me was crunchbang had burned to disc a few days before so thought id give it a try currently in process of changing all pc in the house(3 not including this one) to crunchbang

  9. i have never used a better looking and fast performing os in my life.
    10/10 for CB. i have it as my main os. No problems at all 😀

  10. Hi, I am having the problems with using the apt-get update or the synaptic package.

    I am unable to install new software like linuxdcpp using the current crunchbang version!
    can you direct me to the right forums to know abt this.

  11. Hi, the review was very good, very informative, but I do have one contention: downloading CrunchBang is very slow for me. I’m not sure what you’re using, but I’m using the BitTorrent suggested by the site, and it’s saying that I’ll have to wait four days for the BitTorrent app to open it. Can you tell me how you pulled off a fast download and install?

  12. #! is a really nice distro. i ran it live from a microsd card in a usb card reader connected to my laptop with dual screen for seven days just to see how it could function in my daily life and it was perfect. dual screen wasn’t even that hard to figure out.

  13. I think it’s great. Using it my desktop for the past month or so. Has out of the box encryption aswell (luks/lvm during install). I think crunchbang has come a long way since i last used it a few years back.

    Personally i have strayed away from debian based desktops (not too keen on apt), but if i needed debian for some reason or another i would definetely install crunchbang again.

  14. Excellent review. I am currently auditioning distros for a dual boot on my desktop and Crunchbang 11 is one of the top contenders along with Bodhi Linux and Linux Lite.

  15. Going to give Crunchbang a try now! I want to move on from Ubuntu and even Linux Mint (i’ll still have a linux mint USB to install if needed too.)

  16. I’m totally hooked by this distro. I just love how fast it is. In addition it adds a nice bit of complexity without being too complicated which is perfect for since I want to go a step further after using Ubuntu.

  17. Jim, congratulations on getting this review near the top of today’s news in the Linux Today mailbox. The article reference is now in the middle of their home page, since it is listed from May 22, but it still is showing up near the top in the morning Email from Linux Today. Hope you see some new visitors here to read about CrunchBang Linux. I’m still hoping to try out the latest version soon and share my thoughts on it.

  18. I installed CrunchBang Waldorf back in February, replacing Slackware 14.0. My impressions of CrunchBang are very favorable. I gives me the perfect balance between ease of use and power-user friendliness. I’m a big fan.

  19. Multi Monitor support is awesome, this is the first distro that worked perfectly. I haven’t had a single issue running Crunchbamg since my initial install. I love it n1tr0g3n…

    1. It installs ARandR as an interface for XRandR. Easy to set up, handles different resolutions and allows for different wallpapers on each screen.

  20. Excellent review; as a moderator at the CrunchBang forum, the only things I would note are that the “CrunchBang 11 Wallpaper” application is Nitrogen, the “Look and Feel Menu” is lxappearance, and the “File Manager” is Thunar. Also, the “Desktop System Info and Shortcut Keys” is in the default ~/.conkyrc, and the “Desktop Menu” is handled by the Openbox menu, which is not automatically updated, so it can be configured to the user’s preference.

  21. Good review, Jim! Glad to see the 5/5 rating, indicative of the fact that this distribution meets the goals of the Crunchbang 11 project. I may replace one of my extra Debian installations with this one and give it a fresh look for this release.

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