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CrunchBang 11 Waldorf

May 21, 2013

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.


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34 Responses to CrunchBang 11 Waldorf

  1. Pete on October 23, 2014 at 1:17 am

    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!

    • al bundy on October 23, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      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.

  2. Stone Forest on September 7, 2014 at 6:59 am

    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.

    • Stone forest on September 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      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: http://www.aboutdebian.com/install7.htm with thanks to Keith Parkansky http://www.parkansky.com/.)

    • al bundy on October 23, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      I never install any distro from a live cd.I just boot my machine and selecting DVD and that works all the time.

  3. Dwayne on March 30, 2014 at 2:52 am

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

  4. Mic on January 29, 2014 at 5:22 am

    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.

  5. Ramon Leon on November 23, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    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!

  6. jason on October 31, 2013 at 5:35 am

    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

  7. mohsinj on October 25, 2013 at 1:10 am

    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 :D

    • MarodeMann on November 7, 2013 at 11:46 pm

      try semplice. however it is debian sid not stable but works perfect.

  8. Jerry Palver on October 24, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Crunchbang is one of the BEST distros out there. It works very well.

  9. Robert Ethridge on October 2, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Its fast, thats all that really matters,that and its fun

  10. incline on September 16, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    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. Helpless on September 1, 2013 at 12:22 am

    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. Anonyouus on August 17, 2013 at 10:37 am

    #! 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. 1984 on July 6, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    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. Tim Wyer on May 28, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    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. Lou G on May 26, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    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. Nebucatnetzer on May 26, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    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. Brian Masinick on May 24, 2013 at 8:15 am

    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. HowiPepper on May 23, 2013 at 11:05 am

    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. n1tr0g3n on May 22, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    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…

  20. Silvan Geissmann on May 22, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Can you say anything about multi monitor support?

    • f1062316 on May 24, 2013 at 1:15 pm

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

      • Anon Yser on August 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm

        yep, it works really well here’s my dual screen setup

  21. TonyVanDam on May 22, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I like distros that can be stripped down. Crunchbang is my kind of distro. : )

  22. pvsage on May 22, 2013 at 1:32 am

    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.

    • Brian Masinick on May 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Nice to see a member of the CrunchBang organization weighing in here with feedback.

    • obmon on November 7, 2013 at 6:37 am

      Can Thunar be replaced with Nemo?

  23. Brian Masinick on May 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    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.

    • Jim Lynch on May 21, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      Thanks, Brian. It’s easily one of the best distros out there for what it does. I hope more people check it out.

      • Brian Masinick on May 21, 2013 at 6:40 pm

        Me too; it has always worked well for me, too, and I am thinking of installing it again.

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