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.

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Comments

  1. Pete says

    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 says

      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 says

    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 says

      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 says

      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 says

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

  4. Mic says

    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 says

    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 says

    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 says

    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

  8. incline says

    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.
    thanks

  9. Helpless says

    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?

  10. Anonyouus says

    #! 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.

  11. 1984 says

    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.

  12. says

    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.

  13. Lou G says

    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.)

  14. Nebucatnetzer says

    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.

  15. Brian Masinick says

    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.

  16. HowiPepper says

    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.

  17. n1tr0g3n says

    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…

  18. pvsage says

    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.

  19. Brian Masinick says

    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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