Composer, electronic musician, improviser

SuperCollider on CrunchBang Linux


[UPDATE] This post has been updated to reflect better practices.

Following my post for installing SC3.6 on Ubuntu (Xubuntu) where I advised readers of the awesomeness of #! (CrunchBang) linux I have decided to post a quick how-to for getting SC3.6 IDE installed on your CrunchBang system.

CrunchBang uses the stable Debian repo (currently, codename Wheezy) as well as a the custom Waldorf repo.  To install the new SuperCollider you will need to first setup the unstable (Sid) repo to pull the new SC 3.6 IDE.

Open a terminal and type:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Add the following lines towards the bottom (you can use your preferred text editor instead of nano):

deb http://http.debian.net/debian sid main
deb-src http://http.debian.net/debian sid main

ctl + o to save, then ctl + x to exit (if using nano.)


sudo apt-get update


sudo apt-get install supercollider-ide

Test it by typing:

qjackctl &

and starting your jack server.  Then:


Enjoy, you should be ready to go.  I have left the unstable repos enabled, though you could disable them.  I’m not sure having stable and unstable repos enabled simultaneously constitutes “best practices” and your mileage may vary.  Always be careful doing hacks like this on production systems.  The fact that supercollider is in the “unstable” repo should tell you something… though I’ve not had problems yet.  :)

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 4.01.12 PM

Filed under: Phase 1, , , , , ,

28 Responses

  1. Coopernicus says:

    Wow, you work fast… and thanks!
    – EXCEPT –
    It didn’t work for me. I AM on Statler, I double-checked. But, after adding the repo, I was told:

    Err http://http.us.debian.org sid/main Sources
    404 Not Found [IP: 80]
    Err http://http.us.debian.org sid/main i386 Packages
    404 Not Found [IP: 80]

    W: Failed to fetch http://http.us.debian.org/dists/sid/main/source/Sources 404 Not Found [IP: 80]

    W: Failed to fetch http://http.us.debian.org/dists/sid/main/binary-i386/Packages 404 Not Found [IP: 80]

    which, predictably, leads to

    E: Unable to locate package supercollider-ide

    And yet, you just did this, hours ago?
    If this is a question best posted to a forum manned by more than just yourself, I understand. But I trust you implicitly.

    • scacinto says:

      hey – sorry to hear that. first – did you copy/paste from my post or type it in direct? it looks like the address is resolving to the wrong place. you could try another Debian location or swap ftp for the http and see if that helps. Beyond that your #! is a different version than mine so that could contribute somehow. but I’d leave that for now and try a different repo. are you in the US? you could try .ca or .gb or something like that. however, despite your faith in me I’m no Debian expert so some outside help might be a good idea. I would like to know how it turns out though. keep me posted!

    • scacinto says:

      and yeah – I tested it before posting. but my #! install was brand new and I used a virtual machine, but neither should matter.

      • Coopernicus says:

        I tried more than once, both typing and copypasting. Everything seemed to go through, except those few errors I showed you.

        I’ve asked the #! forums, but no repsonse… and it seems as though questions unanswered for more than a day, tend to remain unanswered.


        As I mention on the #! forum, I also tried ftp in lieu of http; it worked exactly the same – which is to say, it seems to work for everything but SC!

        I may end up doing a full #! re-install, just to get that sexy SC-ide. I hope to avoid it, though, as I’ve already done a fair bit of customisation.

        So, if you have further tips or tricks, I’ll try them. Otherwise, I’m installing Supercollider with a screwdriver and some glue.

      • scacinto says:

        Yeah – i’m beginning to think this is a version issue. Have you seen this thread?


        There are a number of things to try – but read to the end first. Beyond this I can’t say. The “easiest” thing to do might be to back up your data and install a fresh version of the latest #!. I would fully wipe and install to avoid risk of config contamination.

    • scacinto says:

      please check out my latest comment about the 404 problem. it *may* solve your issue if you haven’t already done a fresh install (which may be a better idea anyway…)

  2. scacinto says:

    Alright – I may have a fix for the 404 error. I dug out an old laptop and updated from Statler to Waldorf. I then added the sid repos and got the same error as you. (victory!)

    Here’s what I did for a fix. I changed the repos to the following: deb http://http.debian.net/debian sid main
    deb-src http://http.debian.net/debian sid main

    I then ran the following:

    sudo -s -H bash -c ‘apt-get clean && rm -f /var/lib/apt/lists/* ; rm -f /var/lib/apt/lists/partial/* && apt-get clean && apt-get update’

    Now, i did a lot of noodling, and this last config is the config that worked. However, again, I can’t say exactly what the above does, and after running it I got a loooooot of updates. That *may* be because I needed them because I had an old supercollider install there. I’m running the updates now. Hopefully everything will be copacetic following the updates.

  3. Coopernicus says:

    Huzzah! That worked! I followed your “official write-up,” not the last comment, what with the BASHing and the apt-cleaning and all.

    It somehow broke, or merely tweaked, my Jack settings, but I got that fixed, I think: Jack is booting now. I don’t have sound yet – the server won’t boot, but that’s a problem for another blog. The fact remains: I have Supercollider working on Crunchbang!

    Perhaps I should add another comment to the #! forum blog, with a link to your new & improved guide.

    Now, to decide whether or not to apply the 709 updates!

    Thanks again.

    • scacinto says:

      Yeah – I think you probably want to attempt to only install supercollider-ide and its dependencies. “Updating” means moving to Sid, I think, but I didn’t check the versions of things being installed. Anyway – I hope your Jack stuff works out. I know it doesn’t help you, but my jack stuff worked fine after the install. Again, I think because I was already on Waldorf/Wheezy and you are still on Statler/Squeeze.

  4. Coopernicus says:

    Re-installed Jack, re-installed Pd-Extended, removed the old Emacs-sclang and such, and now everything’s smoooooooooth. Just had to tidy my room.
    Thanks again, for this, and the SC-Ubuntu post I used years ago!

  5. Coopernicus says:

    (I should be more specific, for any googlers who wind up here – I should have un-installed Jack & the older SCs before I started; since I didn’t, muck was slightly fouled. So I un-installed Jack, all types of SC, and, to be safe, Pure Data, and then re-installed SC according to these instructions. Glory be!)

  6. scacinto says:

    Awesome. I’m glad this worked out for you. As you found out, it’s a total hack, but a happy one as long as SC IDE waits for you. Cheers!

  7. Coopernicus says:

    Oh hi! Fancy meeting you here.

    Do you have success with Quarks.gui? I don’t know SC yet, so I’m not sure what I’m looking for, but I’m pretty sure a blank page ain’t it.

    I’ve moved a folder called Quarks (left over from the Emacs-SClang install) into /root/.local/share/SuperCollider. It already has five quark-looking things in it. I’ve also installed SVN. I’ll restart SC after putting a file in a new place (hoping it’ll get noticed), but Quarks.gui, while it seems to download info from SVN, leaves me with an empty space in its browser, and in my heart.

    (otherwise, though, scide, BLAM!)

    • scacinto says:

      hey – nope, Quarks were broken when they moved from SVN to git. The SuperCollider nabble list/forum has up to date information about this. I assume there will be a fix in the next incremental update. in the meanwhile there are work-arounds that are listed on the nabble site.

  8. […] Installing SuperCollider on CrunchBang (or #! as its fans like to call it) […]

  9. garbochock says:

    Having problems with the interpreter,

    bear with me, since my experience with linux is about three days.

    First of all, I’m not sure wether the installation went correctly, as there was issues installing, namely – this warning showed up:

    “Configuring libc6
    xscreensaver and xlockmore must be restarted before upgrading
    One or more running instances of xscreensaver or xlockmore have been detected on this system. Because of incompatible library changes, the upgrade of the GNU libc library will leave you unable to authenticate to these programs. You should arrange for these programs to be restarted or stopped before continuing this upgrade, to avoid locking your users out of their current sessions.”

    Which I simply ignored (probably not a good idea for someone as new to linux as me, I should be more careful). Anyhow, when I start up Scide, it says that interpreter is inactive – and when i try and evaluate a line of code I get the message “Interpreter is not running”.

    Not only that, typing “supercollider” in terminal just produces “command not found” – which I’m certain is a problem. I want to mention that I installed supercollider on a USB live boot of #! – and could access supercollider through the terminal.

    Any ideas on how to proceed?

    • scacinto says:

      Hi there – I can’t guarantee I can help – but i’ll def need more info. When precicely do you get the xscreen… and xlock errors? And you are installing this **not** on a live boot, but an HD install?

      Typing “supercollider” will error no matter what because there is no supercollider executable. If you follow the instructions above the command to run supercollider is: scide. There are “sclang” and “scsynth” executables. You can test whether your supercollider install went OK by typing “sc” in the terminal and then hitting tab a couple times to auto-complete. This should show you “sclang scsynth” as options.

      • garbochock says:

        Howdy, and thanks for your quick reply!

        I’m installing on HD install. Since my last reply I’ve succesfully ran SC on emacs but quickly realised that the rather steep curve to become comfortable in emacs is a problem for me.

        First I could not install SC at all due to my system not being upgraded – however, even now trying an install from sid seems to conflict with my system – namely, it wants to upgrade libc6.

        Most of all I want to be able to run SC in either gedit or scide, but to do this I seem to need to install from sid :/

      • scacinto says:

        Unfortunately, I haven’t tried the setup with the latest #! as I’ve been busy with other distros / life. It may be to your advantage to go with an Ubuntu-based distro that has SC3 or compatible repos rather than #!. Don’t get me wrong, #! is awesome, but because you have to hack it with sid, it’s inherently unstable and prone to sh*tting out on you. Might be a quality of life issue. I can vouch for Ubuntu 14.04 with SCIDE — it works lovely right out of the box.

  10. Coopernicus says:

    Are you there, Scacinto? It’s me, Coopernicus.

    Today is a sad day. Today, like many other days, I upgraded my Sid’d #! computer, only to find that Supercollider no longer welcomes my advances.

    The update was actually on Saturday, September 13th, 2014. I wonder – have YOU updated (“dist-upgrade”) your #! computer lately, and encountered a similar fate? Or have I done something else, something horrible and wrong?

    The first error I get, when starting “scide”, is
    ERROR: Message ‘atIdentityHash’ not understood.


    ^^ The preceding error dump is for ERROR: Message ‘sched’ not understood.
    RECEIVER: nil

    s.boot; yields
    Process:interpretPrintCmdLine 0x94c7f90
    arg this =
    ^^ The preceding error dump is for ERROR: Message ‘boot’ not understood.
    RECEIVER: nil

    Everything had been going great between us, until this newest upgrade got in our way!

    Any similar experiences?

    • scacinto says:

      Hey – I’m afraid you have indeed done something horrible and wrong. Dist-upgrades always break everything if your repos are not compatible because of the dependencies. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. My recommendation would be, if you don’t already have your /home directory on a separate partition, re-partition your drive (after a backup) to make / and /home two different partitions. Then, when things like this happen in the future, you can easily reinstall the OS without having to backup/lose your files. Still, you will have to reinstall #! and go through the rigamarole with SuperCollider again. It’s a dance and you know the steps already – unless of course the new #! doesn’t play nice with it, which I haven’t looked into.

      I have been setting up and using stock Ubuntu 14.04 with the KXStudio repos and SCIDE added on top along with the low-latency kernel for the labs here at Yale. I haven’t been #!ing very much … :'(

  11. goobertunes says:

    Ah well, thanks for the discouraging words. They’re better than no words at all.

    My only active repos are Sid and Pure Data, so my gut feeling is that there’s some malignant incongruity with the newest Sid update.

    Unfortunately, this ~2006 laptop can’t handle Ubuntu 14… I think Ubuntu/Xubuntu 11 was the last version that this poor old fella could run. I’d tried not updating the OS, but within two years, you can’t install any more software cuz the old versions are no longer available.

    Thanks for all your help… it was a glorious six months on the sunny Scide of life.

    • scacinto says:

      Don’t give up yet Goober, you are only hours of painstaking troubleshooting away from glory continued. Take heart.

      When you say your “…only active repos are Sid and Pure Data” do you mean you are running SID or stable with the Sid repos enabled? The former should totally work, the second probably seriously broke when you dist-upgraded. Something to try:

      Install synaptic to be able to visually see and select all your sid-installed packages and purge them. Then do the same with the PD repo. This will remove all the apps (SC and PD) and the associated libs that are fighting with Stable. (and all your config files, etc. This is, after all, the nuclear option.) Then, remove the repos (all but the stock ones) and run update/upgrade to make sure the stock system is OK. Assuming everything from SID was successfully removed, you should get a clean bill of health. if errors occur, there may be something you missed. If everything is OK, re-add the Sid repos and try to install SCIDE.

      The above is only if you don’t want to follow my first recommendation which was the real nuclear option, erase, partition and install. <– that is undoubtedly the better option.

      No matter what you choose to do, I will wish you luck. Let me know how it goes.

      • goobertunes says:

        Well, if I understand the iconography correctly, I am running Sid alone, plus PD repos. I commented out the Wheezy lines some months ago, under the assumption that that was the safest way to run an unsafe computer.

        The only not-commented-out lines in /etc/apt/sources.list are:

        deb http://http.debian.net/debian sid main contrib
        deb-src http://http.debian.net/debian sid main contrib

        deb http://apt.puredata.info/releases sid main
        deb-src http://apt.puredata.info/releases sid main

        deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian/ sid contrib non-free main

        (the “contrib” has to do with being able to run Silverlight, for streaming movies, if I remember correctly – that shouldn’t be botching things, right?)

        So! Unless you suggest otherwise, I’ll try a backup/re-install, try to partition like a pro, then change to Sid for Scide. I have my doubts, though… I have a feeling that something in the current Sid is distasteful to Supercollider, or to my crotchety laptop.

      • scacinto says:

        Well, you may be correct there. As I mentioned, I haven’t been spending a whole lot of time on my #! machine, so… “your mileage may vary.” Have you considered abandoning #! and just running a stripped-down Debian Sid straight-up? There are also all those “light” distros to try, but if SCIDE on a workable distro is your ultimate aim, maybe Debian Sid with a really lightweight window manager is the way to go.

    • scacinto says:

      Another thing to try would be to build SC3 yourself and f*#$ the repos altogether. Building from source is sort of a drag, but seems like at this point it might be better than futzing with the distro mish-mash. Once you get the hang of it, it gets easier too. Then you know you can install the stock system whenever you need to and just build after you get gcc, etc, all set up. I used to do this before I got old and lazy.

      • goobertunes says:

        I think you’re on to something there. I actually was trying to build it myself last night, but I couldn’t figure out all that GCC nonsense.

        Here’s a tidbit I’ve deduced. I’ll leave it right here, in case anybody’s interested. Feel free to refute the following tidbit:

        I think my Supercollider broke because my old computer (Sony Vaio laptop from 2006?) doesn’t like something in the newest version (1:3.6.3~repack-7). It wasn’t the dist-upgrade that borked my files, it’s just that I can’t run the newest version. Unfortunately, I don’t know which version I was running before last week.

        I’ve re-installed #!, and Supercollider (1:3.4.5-1wheezy1) works in Wheezy, but it has no IDE. I tried both Testing and Unstable (both have 3.6.3 SC packages, with IDE), and I’m back to the same heartbreaking errors.

        I’m not the only one. I see ONE other person with similar issues on the SC mailing list. He solved it for himself, and I tried following his lead, but really, I didn’t know what the heck-a-rooni he was talking about.


        So! Maybe I ask this Ali fellow… or maybe I stay stable, and learn to use Emacs. Or maybe I ask the SC list how to figure out the previous build of Scide that I had, and where to find it again…

        Thanks again for all your help. I’ve used your site to install SC on every computer I’ve had (well, every OS… it’s always the same two ancient computers)

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