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VARIOUS Adding CrunchBang features in another distro

If you like the way CrunchBang is set up, but for some reason don't want to use the standard Crunchbang installation (you want to use a different base distro, or you need to use the latest version and the CrunchBang version isn't out yet, or you want to pick and choose which features you add, this page is designed to give you some help.)

Please help correct and fill out this page.


This is reference information - for actual installation details, see Installing Openbox and Applications below.


  • Openbox - A minimalistic, highly configurable, next generation window manager with extensive standards support.
  • obconf - A gtk2 based configuration tool for the Openbox windowmanager
  • obmenu - Openbox menu editor
  • Choose a File Manager - PCManFM and Thunar are the two most popular in the CrunchBang community, both lightweight, and each have their advantages and their fans. PCManFM is currently being rewritten (version 0.9.x available, see the SourceForge page).


  • Conky: Displays a list of shortcuts on the desktop, and configurable set of system info on desktop. Originally based on the torsmo code, but more kickass.
  • Don't let Thunar manage the desktop by default

Look and feel:

  • lxappearance - GTK+ theme switcher. Crunchbang comes with a very sleek theme by default (though it can't be made available for other distros due to the trademark - at least the wallpaper with ”#!CRUNCHBANG LINUX”). It's just a matter of choosing an Openbox theme that you like.
  • Nitrogen: Background browser and setter for X windows, wallpaper tool.

Menus and shortcuts:

  • Openbox rc.xml file: controls keyboard shortcuts, such as Super+space = menu, for launching programs, and Super+w for web browser. These can be listed on the desktop for easy reference, using Conky.
  • dmenu - A generic menu for X. Activated by Alt+F3 in Crunchbang, it lets you type the first letters of a command and quickly find what you need. “dynamic menu is a generic menu for X, originally designed for dwm. It manages huge amounts (up to 10,000 and more) of user defined menu items efficiently.”
  • gmrun - A simple program which provides a run program window
  • Openbox menu.xml file: The default menu for the Openbox WM. An editable menu available from the keyboard.
  • Obmenu = Menu editor (very useful!)

Panel/Taskbar/System Tray: Choose one of these as a tray:

  • Tint2, the default panel for Crunchbang, is an extremely light panel usable with Openbox. (Note: CLI command may be tint or tint2, depending on the distro.)
  • LXPanel is an alternative, for a panel that's almost as light and fairly complete and more conventional looking (especially if you install the menu on the left - this is not done by default in CrunchBang). It's a very small package and like all LXDE components it is modular, so it's good to install this as a useful backup just in case tint2 has problems (e.g. with displaying the network applet).
  • Trayer was used by some in the CrunchBang community, but now is not necessary as Tint2 now supports a systray.
  • If you want the tray to disappear easily, check out the ADcomp tools: ADesk Launcher, ADesk Menu and ADeskBar.
  • Tint2 now has a autohide feature

Applications: * See Applications List [OK] for a list of valuable setup/configuration tools, as well as the choice of programs that come standard with CrunchBang.

  • To get the full, convenient media experience (if you don't object to proprietary software), enable the appropriate package repository for your distro. In Debian, this means adding deb stable main non-free to your /etc/apt/sources.list (for codecs, java, etc). In Mandriva, enable them using Easy Urpmi.


If you want a complete list of applications, click here.

You can also check some of what makes up a particular version of CrunchBang by checking what its file runs.

Installing Openbox and Applications

These commands need to be run with root privileges. You can use sudo, or if sudo is not setup, you can switch to the root account using su.

Arch Linux

pacman -S openbox obconf obmenu tint2 conky dmenu

Debian, Ubuntu, and PCLinuxOS

apt-get install openbox obconf obmenu tint2 conky suckless-tools

Note: PCLinuxOS does not have packages for obmenu and dmenu/dwm-tools/suckless-tools.


yum install openbox obconf obmenu conky dmenu

Note: Fedora does not have a tint2 package.


emerge openbox obconf obmenu tint2 conky dmenu


urpmi openbox obconf tint2 conky

Note: Mandriva does not have packages for obmenu and dmenu/dwm-tools.


zypper install openbox obconf obmenu tint2 conky dmenu


netpkg openbox obconf obmenu tint2 conky

Note: Zenwalk does not have a package for dmenu/dwm-tools.

I just included a few applications; you may also want other applications like Gmrun, Lxappearance, Nitrogen, and Thunar.

CrunchBang 9.04 Settings and Scripts

  • Dmenu script (put this script into your $PATH such as /usr/bin/)
  • system-update (put this script into your $PATH such as /usr/bin/)

CrunchBang 10 "Statler" r20110207 Settings and Scripts

CrunchBang 10 "Statler"

  • A useful list of packages for installing with an XFCE base instead of or in addition to Openbox: source
xorg xfce4 xfce4-terminal xfce4-power-manager xfce4-screenshooter xfce4-notes tint2 catfish notify-osd hotkey-setup gksu gdebi gdm

If you want to add CrunchBang Statler features to a Debian Squeeze install, it can be done easily by adding the Statler repo to your /etc/apt/sources.list

deb statler main

Then just run:

apt-get update
apt-get install crunchbang-multi-session

Note: The CrunchBang settings will only be applied to new users.

Sharing your work

Remember that if you distribute a version of Linux and it's not actually CrunchBang - if it's modified, or your own attempt at a similar idea - don't call it CrunchBang, but give it its own name.

adding_crunchbang_features_in_another_distro.txt · Last modified: 2012/05/24 07:16 by machinebacon
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