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#1 2014-07-11 14:54:38

jlacroix
Member
Registered: 2014-07-11
Posts: 10

Crunchbang and hardware support

Hi guys,

I was introduced to Crunchbang through work, a lot of our developers use it. I have to say, I'm very impressed with it. It's become my  main distro on one of my machines. It's definitely the most well put together openbox distro that I've used. But the hardware support aspect troubles me a bit.

From what I've experienced, hardware support with Crunchbang on newer Haswell-based computers seems to be problematic. For example, the network card won't be detected, and dual-screens won't do anything above mirroring. To remedy this, I've discovered that backporting a kernel from wheezy-backports gets all the hardware detected and working. But this can be a major pain on Haswell systems since the network card isn't detected, making you need to download the backported kernel (as well as each of its dependencies) onto a flash drive from a different computer in order to get it all working properly. On my machine, I've done this, and everything works now.

However, I recently had a chance to try the latest spin of vanilla wheezy on a Haswell system, and surprisingly, all the hardware was detected out of the box. I was thinking that the reason Crunchbang's hardware support was so bad was due to Debian itself, that perhaps the 3.2 kernel it ships with just doesn't have the driver support that systems with Haswell or newer require. Could it be that Debian is backporting drivers for newer hardware into its maintenance of the 3.2 kernel?

If that is the case (that Debian has better hardware support than Crunchbang due to backported drivers) have the Crunchbang developers thought about releasing respins of the Crunchbang ISO with newer hardware support? (For example, 11.1, 11.2, etc)? I think this would be a great idea if possible, since otherwise Crunchbang seems to be one heck of great distro after the pain of getting all the hardware working. If the developers are too under-staffed to do this, perhaps I could volunteer my time if respinning the Crunchbang ISO isn't hard to learn.

Last edited by jlacroix (2014-07-11 14:56:08)

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#2 2014-07-11 15:15:03

CSCoder4ever
BL Keyboard Troll
From: /dev/zero
Registered: 2013-09-03
Posts: 2,256

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

I knew this would happen lol. If I had a Haswell system I personally would be using Arch, but that's just me personally.

do you also have an old wireless G dongle laying around somewhere? that could probably help you from needing to download all the dependencies.

and an incremental release would be nice, but I like the challenge of updating the kernel and all.

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#3 2014-07-11 15:45:39

jlacroix
Member
Registered: 2014-07-11
Posts: 10

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

CSCoder4ever wrote:

I knew this would happen lol. If I had a Haswell system I personally would be using Arch, but that's just me personally.

do you also have an old wireless G dongle laying around somewhere? that could probably help you from needing to download all the dependencies.

and an incremental release would be nice, but I like the challenge of updating the kernel and all.

Actually, I mainly use Arch, but I very much enjoy Crunchbang also.  But it seems that Crunchbang's layout is impossible to replicate in Arch. I even went as far as to scp Crunchbang's configs/themes into an Arch install, and it was a disaster. Even when I manually change the settings in an Arch install of openbox to be the same as Crunchbang, it doesn't go very well. I get the impression that Crunchbang's developers must have some sort of secret sauce.

As for your wireless G dongle idea, the thing is, I already gotten passed the issue as I copied a backported kernel and dependencies on to a USB stick and installed it. After a reboot, all is well. But my question is not necessarily how I myself can mitigate this issue, the point of my post is whether or not this issue can be corrected so it is not a problem for other people when first installing Crunchbang. As I'm an experienced user, I can get passed problems like these (and I did). But if Crunchbang has worse hardware support than the distribution it's based on, that reflects very poorly on Crunchbang itself and is very frustrating for those trying it out for the first time.

That's why I'm curious if the Crunchbang developers have considered updated releases based on a more current Debian wheezy snapshot. I'm getting the impression that would solve the issue with hardware support, since it appears that vanilla wheezy has newer drivers than the kernel that ships with the Crunchbang ISO.

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#4 2014-07-11 15:55:25

CSCoder4ever
BL Keyboard Troll
From: /dev/zero
Registered: 2013-09-03
Posts: 2,256

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

Well in Crunchbang's defense, it is primarily designed for older notebooks/netbooks. My desktop just happens to be lucky for having the support needed.

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#5 2014-07-11 15:56:40

jlacroix
Member
Registered: 2014-07-11
Posts: 10

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

CSCoder4ever wrote:

Well in Crunchbang's defense, it is primarily designed for older notebooks/netbooks. My desktop just happens to be lucky for having the support needed.

Interesting, I didn't know it was designed for older machines. The thing is though, it runs GREAT on newer machines also (once you get the hardware recognized). As for me, I don't really need all the fancy "bling" of a desktop environment, so nowadays I go for openbox even on newer hardware.

Last edited by jlacroix (2014-07-11 15:57:05)

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#6 2014-07-11 16:02:45

CSCoder4ever
BL Keyboard Troll
From: /dev/zero
Registered: 2013-09-03
Posts: 2,256

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

jlacroix wrote:
CSCoder4ever wrote:

Well in Crunchbang's defense, it is primarily designed for older notebooks/netbooks. My desktop just happens to be lucky for having the support needed.

Interesting, I didn't know it was designed for older machines. The thing is though, it runs GREAT on newer machines also (once you get the hardware recognized). As for me, I don't really need all the fancy "bling" of a desktop environment, so nowadays I go for openbox even on newer hardware.

Yeah, turns out my previous Xubuntu's RAM usage isn't much different than my Crunchbang's RAM usage, even with all the "bloat". If you were running it on a 60GB SSD I could see your point, but if you're hardware is capable and you have a decent sized SSD, I don't know what the difference is.

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#7 2014-08-16 16:10:48

CBizgreat!
#! Die Hard
Registered: 2011-07-27
Posts: 1,865

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

Debian stable and hardware support problems just seems to go hand in hand. If you want to get hardcore proactive on the matter and/or you face the situation often could see this.

Could create a custom iso with updated kernel, backports or other sources/apt-pinning and whatever apps etc you want. The goal there was to downsize but could always go the other way and slap it on a larger media to install. Also don't see why the process outlined wouldn't work with plain old Debian itself.

If had more time-interest would make a minimal Debian install with newer kernel and non-free repos + software  etc myself. Agree it can be a real PITA dealing with hardware issues in stable Debian or stable based distros. Though price someone pays for rock solid stable ... tried and tested to death. smile

Last edited by CBizgreat! (2014-08-16 17:36:54)


Some common cbiz abbreviations. This will save me time and yet @ same time tell folks what the babble is supposed to mean.

Vll ! = ( Viva la gnu/Linux !)    Vl#!! = ( Viva la #! !)    Last but not least, UD ... OD ! = ( Use Debian ... or die !) tongue

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#8 2014-08-16 19:51:39

jlacroix
Member
Registered: 2014-07-11
Posts: 10

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

CBizgreat! wrote:

Debian stable and hardware support problems just seems to go hand in hand. If you want to get hardcore proactive on the matter and/or you face the situation often could see this.

Could create a custom iso with updated kernel, backports or other sources/apt-pinning and whatever apps etc you want. The goal there was to downsize but could always go the other way and slap it on a larger media to install. Also don't see why the process outlined wouldn't work with plain old Debian itself.

If had more time-interest would make a minimal Debian install with newer kernel and non-free repos + software  etc myself. Agree it can be a real PITA dealing with hardware issues in stable Debian or stable based distros. Though price someone pays for rock solid stable ... tried and tested to death. smile

I don't think that's exactly what I'm talking about. The problem with Crunchbang is that there is no updated ISO with all the updates built in. I'm not referring to backports or pinning anything, I'm referring only to the updates you get normally without adding any extra repositories.

For example, if I install Crunchbang on a newer system, there are hardware detection issues. Run updates, even via cb-welcome, and these problems go away. The initial installation of Crunchbang can be EXTREMELY annoying. For example, on a newer system you'll most likely not have support for your network card. With the newest kernel in Crunchbang, you do. So basically, in order to solve this problem on a new install, I have to download the updates from a different machine, and copy them over via a flash drive.

I don't understand why Crunchbang doesn't release a new ISO with normal updates built in. Just a simple respin with current normal updates. It makes it easier for the average person. If I can help in any way, I am available to donate my time if that will help make it happen.

Where I work, we actually use Crunchbang on pretty much every employee workstation. I deploy Crunchbang via Clonezilla with the updates built-in, but a respin would make it easier for everyone.

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#9 2014-08-16 20:04:01

Head_on_a_Stick
CatMod
From: A world of pure imagination
Registered: 2014-01-21
Posts: 4,797

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

jlacroix wrote:

I don't understand why Crunchbang doesn't release a new ISO with normal updates built in. Just a simple respin with current normal updates. It makes it easier for the average person. If I can help in any way, I am available to donate my time if that will help make it happen.

Where I work, we actually use Crunchbang on pretty much every employee workstation. I deploy Crunchbang via Clonezilla with the updates built-in, but a respin would make it easier for everyone.

#! has one developer --- @corenomial...
I imagine he's too busy to adapt new .iso's when apt-get update & upgrade does the job as far as updating from Debian 7.0 to 7.6 goes...
If you are using #! in an enterprise environment, then preparing a custom .iso image, as suggested, seems the way to go.
Maybe host it as well, and post a link here...
smile
EDIT: Also, check out @damo's amazing new guide to remastersys
http://crunchbang.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id=36322

Last edited by Head_on_a_Stick (2014-08-16 20:06:39)

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#10 2014-08-16 20:06:25

damo
#! gimpbanger
From: N51.5 W002.8 (mostly)
Registered: 2011-11-24
Posts: 5,434

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

But as has been said many times, Crunchbang is based on Debian Stable, so it follows Debian's release schedule. There is ONE developer, so it isn't reasonable to expect him to run a rolling-release distro, or even something close to that.

CBizgreat! has provided a link for "fiddling" with the iso, and there is also a HowTo for building your own here.

EDIT ninja'd by HeadonaStick. Again!

Last edited by damo (2014-08-16 20:07:23)


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#11 2014-08-16 20:09:10

jlacroix
Member
Registered: 2014-07-11
Posts: 10

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

damo wrote:

But as has been said many times, Crunchbang is based on Debian Stable, so it follows Debian's release schedule. There is ONE developer, so it isn't reasonable to expect him to run a rolling-release distro, or even something close to that.

CBizgreat! has provided a link for "fiddling" with the iso, and there is also a HowTo for building your own here.

No one is asking for a rolling release distro. All I was implying is that there should be a respin with the current updates, to make it that much easier for everyone. As far as there being only one developer, I know that, which is why I mentioned a few times I'd be willing to donate my time.

If you are using #! in an enterprise environment, then preparing a custom .iso image, as suggested, seems the way to go.

Right, which is what I'm doing. But this doesn't help the average person outside of my company.

Last edited by jlacroix (2014-08-16 20:09:41)

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#12 2014-08-16 20:10:07

CBizgreat!
#! Die Hard
Registered: 2011-07-27
Posts: 1,865

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

Well caulk it up to "that's just the way it is." basically. Much can be done with any situation ... whether or not it is, is a different story. Corenominal ... like everyone else doesn't have an infinite amount of time to devote to satisfying every request or user need. Good news is with any measure of proficiency a nixer can do just about anything themselves. One of the things that attracted me to #!,  besides a kickbutt nixer community. You're given a good base system to do whatever  you want.

Clonezilla is one option and there will always be a gazillion others. So if your question is why doesn't #! support every newest hardware device OOTB, imo answer is because it's based on Debian stable. Just a part of life and any nixer that feels like it can find a gazillion easy enough work arounds to get what they desire.


Vll! smile

One of a afore named gazillion, central boot server or so many other options it makes me light headed to think about. smile

Last edited by CBizgreat! (2014-08-16 20:18:51)


Some common cbiz abbreviations. This will save me time and yet @ same time tell folks what the babble is supposed to mean.

Vll ! = ( Viva la gnu/Linux !)    Vl#!! = ( Viva la #! !)    Last but not least, UD ... OD ! = ( Use Debian ... or die !) tongue

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#13 2014-08-16 20:10:49

Head_on_a_Stick
CatMod
From: A world of pure imagination
Registered: 2014-01-21
Posts: 4,797

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

So will you host the image you have of the Debian 7.6 version of CruchBang?
That would be awesome big_smile

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#14 2014-08-16 20:21:38

CBizgreat!
#! Die Hard
Registered: 2011-07-27
Posts: 1,865

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

^Lol ...

Luv Debian and #! ... if was directed @ me, not hosting anything CrunchCat. Only saying Core gives people more than enough to work with. Given x situation, there's probably an easy enough solution close to hand if they (x-person) decides to find/employ it. smile And hopefully shares it with the rest of us. wink

Vl#!!

Last edited by CBizgreat! (2014-08-16 20:23:15)


Some common cbiz abbreviations. This will save me time and yet @ same time tell folks what the babble is supposed to mean.

Vll ! = ( Viva la gnu/Linux !)    Vl#!! = ( Viva la #! !)    Last but not least, UD ... OD ! = ( Use Debian ... or die !) tongue

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#15 2014-08-16 20:23:09

jlacroix
Member
Registered: 2014-07-11
Posts: 10

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

CBizgreat! wrote:

So if your question is why doesn't #! support every newest hardware device OOTB, imo answer is because it's based on Debian stable. Just a part of life and any nixer that feels like it can find a gazillion easy enough work arounds to get what they desire.

It sounds to me like you really aren't understanding my request. Yes, I am aware that #! is based on Debian stable. Debian stable DOES support this hardware, and it does so by the latest kernel, that you'd get anyway by updating. The fact that the #! iso is so darn old, makes it tougher for people to get it installed. All it would take is to recreate the ISO with the latest stable packages. And you mention that the main developer doesn't have time. I'll mention this for the fourth time - I know that, which is why I offered to volunteer my time if that's what's necessary. I know this is just a simple "wish" but let's be fair - tracking down an older network card just to do an apt-get dist-upgrade is very annoying for someone that just wants to get a distro installed. I don't think an updated ISO every six months or every year is unreasonable, especially when someone offers to help out.

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#16 2014-08-16 20:31:00

Head_on_a_Stick
CatMod
From: A world of pure imagination
Registered: 2014-01-21
Posts: 4,797

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

Probably best to PM @corenomial wink
EDIT: sorry, my last post was meant as a joke (to illustrate a point about server hosting) and not directed at anyone in particular...

Last edited by Head_on_a_Stick (2014-08-16 20:33:02)

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#17 2014-08-16 20:32:25

jlacroix
Member
Registered: 2014-07-11
Posts: 10

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:

Probably best to PM @corenomial wink

Maybe I will. Thank you smile

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#18 2014-08-16 20:39:26

CBizgreat!
#! Die Hard
Registered: 2011-07-27
Posts: 1,865

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

^ Well send Core a PM ...

How you conclude that Debian stable offers functionality, that #! doesn't is kinda beyond me though, shrugs. Don't want to argue and somehow seems that's the way it's going. Don't know what you want at this point. From past experience Core doesn't share at least not when comes to admin'in this distro. Does a fine job but you can always hit him up and inquire or express whatever ideas and improvements you have in mind. No worries ... again just unsure of what you're suggesting fellow nixer.

Neither Debian stable nor #! support lastest hardware OOTB. That's the obvious nature of it, shrugs. Though any reasonably self sufficient banger can do for themselves.

Vll! smile

No worries CrunchCat wink

Edit ... just for the record, was suggesting you PM distro head, when you guys posted, lmao. tongue Overall though it's just the nature of stable imo and again nothing anyone who wants to put any amount of time in, can't work around mucho quick.

Last edited by CBizgreat! (2014-08-16 20:49:30)


Some common cbiz abbreviations. This will save me time and yet @ same time tell folks what the babble is supposed to mean.

Vll ! = ( Viva la gnu/Linux !)    Vl#!! = ( Viva la #! !)    Last but not least, UD ... OD ! = ( Use Debian ... or die !) tongue

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#19 2014-08-16 20:49:31

jlacroix
Member
Registered: 2014-07-11
Posts: 10

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

CBizgreat! wrote:

Neither Debian stable nor #! support lastest hardware OOTB. That's the obvious nature of it, shrugs. Though any reasonably self sufficient banger can do for themselves.

Maybe that's the part that you're missing. Debian stable does actually support newer hardware in the stable kernel. The release notes for Debian stable kernels mention that they pull in drivers for newer hardware. For example, the kernel that ships with #! does not support networking on all of the Haswell boxes I've tried. But the latest stable kernel from Debian does. I was confused of this too, so I checked the release notes of the latest stable kernel (or maybe the one just prior to the newest one) and I noticed the release notes indicated they pulled in newer drivers.

I used to think like you as well. I used to think that Debian stable supports only the hardware that was out at the time that stable was released, But I was surprised to find out that the Debian developers pull in new drivers into their stable kernel. I just recently learned this, and it changed the way I think about Debian.

So my proposal is simple - remaster the Crunchbang ISO with the latest stable updates built in, that way if someone goes to install it on a newer machine, there's a higher likelihood that their hardware will be supported.

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#20 2014-08-16 20:52:09

CBizgreat!
#! Die Hard
Registered: 2011-07-27
Posts: 1,865

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

bizzy gives up as see's things going nowhere. Again suggest PM whatever suggestions you have to the project head = Core.

Vll!:)

Though in afterthought mode ... #! supports much OOTB, that Debian doesn't. And the ole biblical saying ... Give a man a fish you feed em for one day, teach a man/person to fish, you feed em for a lifetime comes to mind when thinking about #!. smile

Last edited by CBizgreat! (2014-08-16 20:55:51)


Some common cbiz abbreviations. This will save me time and yet @ same time tell folks what the babble is supposed to mean.

Vll ! = ( Viva la gnu/Linux !)    Vl#!! = ( Viva la #! !)    Last but not least, UD ... OD ! = ( Use Debian ... or die !) tongue

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#21 2014-08-16 20:54:01

Head_on_a_Stick
CatMod
From: A world of pure imagination
Registered: 2014-01-21
Posts: 4,797

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

@jlacroix --- I too had absolutely no idea the updated Wheezy kernel had newer drivers: all this time I have been frakenstein-booting #! via my Arch install & getting the backported kernel for my Haswell hardware... hmm
EDIT: the cb-welcome script runs a system upgrade and should pull in the newer kernel (although of course if the network drivers aren't supported this won't happen).

Last edited by Head_on_a_Stick (2014-08-16 20:56:24)

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#22 2014-08-16 20:57:05

jlacroix
Member
Registered: 2014-07-11
Posts: 10

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:

@jlacroix --- I too had absolutely no idea the updated Wheezy kernel had newer drivers: all this time I have been frakenstein-booting #! via my Arch install & getting the backported kernel for my Haswell hardware... hmm

Yup, I was in the same boat. I was so surprised I actually had to test this in a lab to double-check. To be fair, it took a very long time for Debian to pull in these drivers, but the fact that they did do it made me very happy. One of the ways I tested this was to use my original wheezy stable ISO, and several pieces of hardware weren't detected. I then downloaded a newer wheezy ISO, and sure enough, everything worked out of the box!

You are right, cb-welcome does indeed pull in the updated kernel. But if you are installing on a machine where the original #! kernel didn't detect your network card, you'll have to either install an older network card just long enough to get the newest packages, download the updates on a different computer, or install #! on an older machine and then clone it to the new one. This is not a fun project. After #! is updated, it's good to go. If you CAN pull in the updates via your network card, great. But without support of the box, this can be hard.

Last edited by jlacroix (2014-08-16 20:59:56)

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#23 2014-08-16 20:59:45

damo
#! gimpbanger
From: N51.5 W002.8 (mostly)
Registered: 2011-11-24
Posts: 5,434

Re: Crunchbang and hardware support

If you disable the crunchbang repos, doesn't that allow pulling in more recent stuff?

Last edited by damo (2014-08-16 21:00:07)


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