System requirements

BunsenLabs is a Debian Stretch desktop with custom configurations and some additions. Hence, the hardware recommendations from the Debian project apply for both 32bit and 64bit systems:

RAM (minimum) RAM (recommended) Hard Drive (recommended)
256M 1G 10G

Depending on the applications and feature set you decide to use (especially if you do not run a graphical desktop), the system may run fine with less resources. An installation from the live ISOs uses approximately 2.1G of space on the hard drive.

Installing from a live ISO image (CD/DVD/USB key)

This is the preferred and officially supported installation method. You first download a so-called hybrid ISO image which, depending on size, is suitable for writing to a CD/DVD medium or a USB key drive. Then, after booting from the installation medium, you have the chance to test the Bunsen desktop and install the system to your computer.

After downloading the ISO file from one of the sources below, you may find help with burning the file to disk or writing to a USB key in the Debian FAQ section:

To log in after booting the live session, enter the username user and the password live.


If you can use BitTorrent, please do so as to keep load off our server. If possible, please leave the client open for a while so you can seed the files for other users. Via BitTorrent, you will also be able to download significantly faster – especially if you are not in Europe where our servers are located.

Otherwise, use the direct download links. Do not forget to verify direct downloads using the checksum file provided1. Use the provided OpenPGP signature to verify any download2.

Release / architecture Size .torrent https SHA-256 PGP .sig
Helium / amd64
Helium / i386
Helium / i386, no PAE

For archived releases, click here. We last updated our ISOs with current packages on 2019-07-09.

There is a section on the forums which deals with any issues, bugs and comments related to the current release.

The 32bit ISO contains only a PAE-enabled kernel. If you have a platform that doesn’t support PAE, download helium-5-cd-i386.hybrid.iso which comes with a non-PAE kernel instead.

Package-based install

You may also choose to follow our repository set-up instructions and include our package repository into your existing Debian system. This way, you can selectively install packages from the BunsenLabs project and use only a subset of our configurations and assets.

The Helium packages are made to be installed on the latest Debian release, currently Debian 9 (Stretch).

For Debian 8 (Jessie) systems, you should use our Hydrogen packages. The repositories will stay available as long as Debian 8 stays the LTS oldstable release, however these repositories will not receive any feature updates.

Netinstall script

It is also possible to include the BunsenLabs system into a minimal netinstall Debian installation using a special script. Please consult its README for detailed instructions.

  1. Place the file containing the checksums in the same directory as your ISO file downloads, and then run in a terminal sha256sum --check ${CHECKSUM_FILE}. Make sure to pass the name of the *.sha256sum.txt file, and not the ISO file!↩︎

  2. We use our release key for signing. Import the key into your local user’s keyring by executing gpg --import <(wget -qO- Verify the signature by downloading both the ISO file and the signature file to the same directory and invoking GnuPG as follows: gpg --verify ${SIGNATURE_FILE} ${ISO_FILE}. GnuPG should tell you that you passed it a ‘good signature’.↩︎