back to article Devuan ships second stable cut of its systemd-free Linux

Systemd-free Linux distro Devuan has released its stable Version 2.0. The project's last release candidate was released in May, and as you'd hope, not much has changed between then and full release. Because it's written by purists, we should include the full name of the release: it's Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0 ASCII Stable. The …

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  1. onefang Silver badge

    "Devuan 2.0 ASCII comes in ISOs for Intel and AMD architectures, and a surprising number of ARM systems"

    A PowerPC version is being worked on.

  2. jake Silver badge

    Well worth looking over, kids.

    I'm a slacker from 'way back, but if for whatever reason Slackware goes away, Devuan is on my short list of replacements for desktop use (along with Arch and Gentoo, if you're wondering).

  3. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Linux

    awesome - RPi image!

    I'll have to download the Devuan RPi image and see how it compares to Raspbian. Well, it would be WITHOUT systemd, so that's +100 right there.

    I'm happily running the previous Devuan on one development box, and one VM at the moment. But I wonder if I can just use 'apt-get dist-upgrade' or not (after modifying sources.list). Probably can.

    And I would be stoked if the Raspberry Pi Foundation gave Devuan some recognition.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: awesome - RPi image!

      "But I wonder if I can just use 'apt-get dist-upgrade' or not (after modifying sources.list). Probably can."

      In theory you should be able to, a lot of work was done to make sure upgrade paths from Debian Jessie and Debian Stretch work. In practice, I didn't try that personally, not having a RPi. I can't recall off the top of my head if any other Devuan devs tried that.

    2. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: awesome - RPi image!

      I would run "apt-get upgrade" first. I have had occasional issues doing it all in a single leap (with Debian). I did do "apt-get upgrade; apt-get dist-upgrade" to Devuan ASCII a few months back without any issue that I remember.

  4. chuckufarley
    Linux

    Is it Upgrade Season or...

    ...is it Update Season? I can never keep the two straight. If only we had two anthropomorphized cartoon animals here to set me straight.

    Either way, it's kind of bitter sweet. We can new packages and lot's and lot's of new features. Then again, the uptime clock gets reset on the reboot.

    Good job, Veteran Unix Admins! Keep up the good work!

    1. onefang Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Is it Upgrade Season or...

      So you want two straight anthropomorphized cartoon animals to go on a date, so you can grade their performance? I'm up with that. Though maybe wait until February 14th, it's the season for those sorts of shenanigans.

      1. OhThatGuy
        Boffin

        Re: Is it Upgrade Season or...

        The uptime clock is reset quite often due to corrected security bugs in kernel, isn't it?

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Is it Upgrade Season or...

      Who gives a flying fuck about uptime on any single given machine? Keeping it up forever pales in comparison to overall system stability and security. If a box needs a reboot, then reboot the fucking thing already! It's not like it sentences your firstborn to death or anything.

      Honestly, I thought THAT particular DSW was over a couple decades ago.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Who gives a flying fuck about uptime on any single given machine?

        All the linux zealots who use Windows update reboots as a stick to beat MS with.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Who gives a flying fuck about uptime on any single given machine?

          All the linux zealots who use Windows update reboots as a stick to beat MS with.

          I thought Windows reboots were a clever if authoritarian method of a concentration break.

          How generous, a three hour 'smoke break' in the middle of the day as Windows tells me I've put off the update far too long already...

          What, that's not an intentional design?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Who gives a flying fuck about uptime on any single given machine?

            It’s job security for Windows SysAdmins, because without unexpected firefighting and planned downtime because, to users, they would seem like BS employees whom don’t do anything because systems “never go down” (gee, I wonder how that supposed miracle happens? Proactive, business-conscientious and change-conservative SA’s perhaps?)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Who gives a flying fuck about uptime on any single given machine?

          Religious OS trolling is so 1999 and also Trump/Hillary crowds of rabies-frothing, sexually-frustrated cult followers tilting at windmills at the “other” team.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is it Upgrade Season or...

        Good luck with that in industrial production environments where rebooting costs time and money. That’s why deployments like snail mail sorters use anticient versions of FreeBSD.. no internet and no need for upgrades if everything works. TBH FreeBSD runs more of the world that Linux (but likely less than Windows), but it’s use isn’t apparent to the public.

    3. sloanrb

      Re: Is it Upgrade Season or...

      The BOFH explained Upgrade vs Update

      "Think of it this way. An upDATE is when your Missus gets you to buy a new suit and and upGRADE would be when she gets Brad Pitt in whatever clothes he's wearing. She may upDATE his clothes at some stage in the future or she might just be too pleased with the upGRADE to bother."

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/02/21/bofh_2014_episode_2/

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Is it Upgrade Season or...

      "I can never keep the two straight."

      If you can't remember, try one, then the other, then the first one again.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Accessibility

    - minimal-live/

    a console-only minimal live iso with tons of cli and curses

    utilities and a special focus on accessibility. Good for minimalist

    environments, rescue purposes and also blind users.

    I would love to escape SystemD but I prefer to run "minimal" distros specifically to avoid unneeded dependencies/packages etc.

    I have nothing against "accessibility" options for those that want or need them but this is a deal breaker for me.

    (I have my reasons)

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Accessibility

      You could do like I'm doing right now, a debootstrap install. Or just uninstall the accessibility stuff.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Accessibility

      The only way to JEOS these days is LFS, Gentoo or Arch. I like the idea of using runit instead of systemd, but systemd has acquired monopolistic, de facto authority over much of the Linux ecosystem by making nearly everything depend on one of it’s formerly-separate components (udev). It’s nice to have a well-unified system a-la FreeBSD development, it’s just not nice to throw together a bunch of projects tightly-coupled and throwing away UNIX Philosophy in order to solve minor issues of init performance, boot optimization, logging, dependency management, service management, and then keep mission-creeping to take even more responsibilities away.

  6. wolfetone Silver badge

    Very proud of the guys behind this project, and I'm glad it's continuing to grow in releases and in popularity.

    #ShoveYourSystemDUpYerArse

    #YesIAmAwareHashtagsDontWorkInTheComments

    #NoImNotSorry

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Trollface

      wolfetone,

      Don't sit on the fence. What do you really think about SystemD?

      You love it really don't you?

      #CheckYourBloodPressure

      #SorryCouldn'tResist

  7. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

    Can only be good

    I installed it while still in testing a few months back when I needed a disposable (so old, and lying around) laptop to take abroad. I found it was just as configurable and stripped-down-able as one would have expected expect from a Debian-derived OS, and made the old machine quite acceptably usable. I gave that machine away at the end of the trip and have been told it is still running well, one would hope updated to release code.

    Also tested on a laptop and a VM. I was unimpressed by the graphical installer of the live ISO, which it seems only allows the root disk to be ext4, ext3,or ext2, so a network ISO was needed. It took a bit of fettling to get it as I preferred, but all things considered it took perhaps a little less faffing to get it to my tastes. That perhaps says something more about my taste in desktops than Devuan devs' output. The included firefox is the ESR version, but Mozilla's downloaded binaries are much more acceptable these days than a while back.

    I'm looking forward to getting this onto a Pi or two. WIth the second release, Devuan have shown that they are not a flash in the pan, and may well be here for the longer term, something that cannot always be said of "grievance" initiatives, but they have a real job to fulfill with their valid alternative. Richard joked about "Purists" and the name Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0 ASCII Stable, but these days we aren't far from having to add the word systemd into other distros who have been embraced by its tendrils.

    Having gone through the systemd removal process of some Pis running Raspbian as servers, having been burnt once too often by the bizarre and unpredictable operation of systemd on otherwise solid systems, it does feel that there is at least an alternative.

    I wish Devuan well.

  8. KarelE

    Storm in a teacup

    An almighty fuss and effort that's entirely pointless. Systemd is here: get over it. Really, all this effort around posturing could be better expended working on Debian itself (or Arch or similar).

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Storm in a teacup

      Well no, it's not entirely pointless.

      SystemD is a cancer, and the Linux community has a right to making its own choices about what they want on their systems. Forcing something down our necks that's pure poison should never be acceptable. And, thankfully, because of the guys at Devuan we have that choice to refuse the poison Kool-Aid and use something that won't shaft us at any opportunity.

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Re: Storm in a teacup

        So, I am curious. What does one "lose" from not having systemd around? Who depends on it and can't do anything without it? What's the average end user (whatever that means wrt folk that pick less mainstream distributions) going to miss?

        Would that be mostly gnome apps?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Storm in a teacup

          systemd gobbled up the udev project.

          https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Udev#Installation

    2. Sam Liddicott

      Re: Storm in a teacup

      Devuan is here, get over it.

    3. John Sanders
      Coat

      Re: Storm in a teacup

      I swear to god that at this point I think all the "anti-systemd" crusade is like the flat earth society an internet trolling of epic proportions.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Storm in a teacup

        "I swear to god that at this point I think all the "anti-systemd" crusade is like the flat earth society an internet trolling of epic proportions."

        There is a direct correlation between the adoption in SystemD and those who believe the Earth is flat.

        Fact.

        1. John Hughes

          Re: Storm in a teacup

          (Not a fact).

          There is a correlation between some of the most troll-like anti-systemd people and Brexit, Trump and global warming deniers. The Devuan people are not like that, they are mostly sincere, (although they do tend to swing a bit towards conspiracy theories).

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    5. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Storm in a teacup

      KarelE,

      I don't use Linux, though I've played around with it a little bit. So I'm just a watcher from the outside. You're right that Systemd is here, but I don't think the community shows much sign of getting over it. At least not soon. Maybe it'll win over the doubters, improve and become standard everywhere in a few years time. But on the other hand, maybe those in charge of it will fuck up once too often, or manage to piss off too many distros, so that it loses critical mass and fails. The latter looks as (or more) likely than the first to me - because the arrogance and arseholery on continuous display from Poettering is likely to have consequences every so often.

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Storm in a teacup

        If I remember correctly, HP-UX 9 or 10 used a shell script to loop through /sbin/rc{n{}.d running shell scripts with names beginning with a 3 digit number that were links to scripts in /sbin/init.d/. Doing it in order took care of I think it was called SysV. It worked fine.

        Deban and other Linux based systems used a compiled program to do much the same thing and later refined it to semiautomate the dependency management, which HP might have done by hand. It, too, worked fine, and they later enhanced it to run some of the steps in parallel, which made it run faster.

        Both were pretty transparent, had standard template start/stop scripts, and were relatively easy to work around at need.

        Now we have SystemD. I've got used to it, but aside from the fact that it boots a bit faster yet see no advantage, and certainly none to offset the similar transparency of text based log files.

        The whole thing struck me from the beginning as a job security and CV building exercise by someone who appears smart enough to be more productive. And the last install I did - Stretch 9.4 from a Netinstall CD - still winds up with 35 scripts in /etc/init.d linked from /etc/rc?.d. It just isn't clear that it has much of a point or that we wouldn't have been at least as well off by drowning it at birth.

    6. Walter Bishop Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: Storm in a teacup

      @KarelE: "An almighty fuss and effort that's entirely pointless. Systemd is here: get over it. Really, all this effort around posturing could be better expended working on Debian itself (or Arch or similar)."

      Systemd suffers from a number of strange design decisions such as embedding a HTTP Server directly into the software, that provides remote interactive browsing.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Storm in a teacup

        "Systemd suffers from a number of strange design decisions such as embedding a HTTP Server directly into the software, that provides remote interactive browsing."

        So that's two HTTP servers in your typical distro then, the systemd builtin one, and the kernel builtin one.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Storm in a teacup

          "So that's two HTTP servers in your typical distro then, the systemd builtin one, and the kernel builtin one."

          I have no idea why I only got downvotes for purely stating a fact. No one bothered to point out where it is I went wrong.

      2. John Hughes

        Re: Storm in a teacup

        Systemd suffers from a number of strange design decisions such as embedding a HTTP Server directly into the software, that provides remote interactive browsing.
        That would be a strange design decision, wouldn't it.

        Unsurprisingly it's not a decision systemd made.

        An optional component, systemd-journal-gatewayd allows access to the logs (and nothing else) using the http protocol. If you don't want it, don't use it.

        https://www.freedesktop.org/software/systemd/man/systemd-journal-gatewayd.service.html

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Storm in a teacup

        Systemd is a do-everything and tightly-coupled snowball of mission-creep features thrown on by cowboy developers without asking users, and it’s a non-UNIX philosophy and non-software-best-practices over-engineered, complex, security nightmare.

  9. Philip Hands

    systemd-free?

    well, apart from libsystemd0 of course.

    I was surprised when someone on slashdot pointed that out, but I grabbed the live ISO, spun it up, and discover that it really does contain libsystemd0, and the package is bit-for-bit the same as that in Debian stretch-updates, so it's not just some pretend empty package installed just to satisfy some dependency, or similar hack.

    I thought that the whole point of Devuan was to remove every bit of systemd, including libsystemd0, since if one can live with that, then one can just install Debian, with the init of your choice, and get pretty-much the same thing.

    Perhaps some Devuan person could explain what the thinking behind this is. To me it points towards the possibility of Devuan becoming a conventional Debian derivative, but perhaps I'm missing something.

    BTW given that the vast majority of the packages in Devuan ASCII are actually bit-for-bit the same as packages from Debian, it might have been polite to mention the reliance on the work of Debian in the release notes, but never mind.

    1. stephanh Silver badge

      Re: systemd-free?

      This has been discussed so many times, it's a FAQ.

      https://devuan.org/os/issues

      "Since libsystemd0 is totally innocuous if systemd is not installed and running, existing dependencies on libsystemd0 are not consider a major issue in Devuan Jessie.Hence, please avoid filing a bug report for every package that depends on libsystemd0: we already know the full list, and any such bug report will be closed without further processing. However, we would really appreciate your help in repackaging existing software to remove this silly and useless dependency."

      1. John Hughes

        Re: systemd-free?

        Yes, we all(*) know that libsystemd0 is innocuous.

        But the real question is:

        What is the difference between Devuan and Debian running with sysvinit instead of systemd? You do know that you can run Debian without systemd, right?

        (* for values of all that don't include LKCL, who proposed that libsystemd0 be replaced by a libsystemd-1 that would dynamically load libsystemd0 if needed).

        1. thierrybo

          Re: systemd-free?

          Devuan is not just debian without systemd. This is the half part of the purpose of this distribution. The other half is modifying packages that depends on systemd so that they do not depends on it. An example is policykit

    2. rmacd

      Re: systemd-free?

      There's a HUGE difference between linking to libsystemd and running systemd... so no, it's not "pretty-much the same thing".

      Unfortunately Slashdot's long turned into a cesspit of people who are allergic to RTFM: https://devuan.org/os/issues

      1. Philip Hands

        Re: systemd-free?

        Right, so if we're all relaxed about having libsystemd0 sitting on the disk, and if we're capable of remembering that Debian allows one to choose the init of one's choice, what exactly is the difference between Debian with sysvinit installed, and Devuan?

        Note: init-system-helpers -- a package specifically created to allow one to switch between inits in Debian, which of course is also used in Devuan.

        Is the answer to that things like udev rather than eudev?

        If so, is there anything to stop eudev being uploaded to Debian? (I note that the ITP has been fallow since 2014: https://bugs.debian.org/765971 )

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Outer mongolian custard monster from outer space (honest)

          Re: systemd-free?

          I dont think "relaxed" is the correct term Ian in fact taken overall its somewhat disintegrous to state that to support the argument that one is equivalent to the other. In the reality of here and now, its a small dep and not used so in the interests of expediency its there as a known issue.

          The difference then becomes (I believe) that Devuan is commited long term to eliminating this and is already working through the list of packages. I don't believe base Debian has the same commitment?

          I have nothing against Debian apart from its decision to go to systemD, I've been dabbling with it since I got given a install cd at a show where I bought my first cd rom drive by Debian volunteers when running Slackware, but I currently have 5 installs of Devuan churning away since the project first released and 0 of Debian.

        3. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

          Re: systemd-free?

          > remembering that Debian allows one to choose the init of one's choice

          You're absolutely right - for now. But look at the distros which have more fully embraced systemd, such as Fedora or openSUSE. It's practically impossible to change init in those - not absolutely impossible, but practically so, and the fear is that, as Debian has not committed fully to init independence, so as each update goes by, systemd's tendrils have a chance to grasp tighter. Devuan shows that we have choice, for now. Hopefully it will encourage Debian to continue allowing that choice at a fully supported level.

          1. Philip Hands

            Re: systemd-free?

            Hopefully it will encourage Debian to continue allowing that choice at a fully supported level.

            My concern is that if the people that care about running without systemd all migrate to Devuan, and if Devuan developers put little effort into pushing their changes upstream into Debian, then there will be that much less reason for Debian Developers to maintain the choice.

            It takes good bugs, preferably with good patches attached, to keep that sort of functionality viable, especially if the person maintaining the package has no strong views about the init debacle (which is the case for the majority of Debian users and thus developers).

            The work that gets done in Debian is that which interests people enough to do it. If those interested in choice of init all go elsewhere then of course that choice will wither on the vine.

            If on the other hand Devuan were to act more like a normal Debian Derivative, they'd be making sure that as much of their work as possible was fed back into Debian, they'd be maintaining major components as both Devuan and Debian packages, they'd be reporting bugs where Debian fails to satisfy their preferences, and all that would act to preserve the choice that you worry about losing.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: systemd-free?

              "My concern is that if the people that care about running without systemd all migrate to Devuan, and if Devuan developers put little effort into pushing their changes upstream into Debian, then there will be that much less reason for Debian Developers to maintain the choice."

              My concern would be more along the lines of what happens with Devuan changes pushed upstream. It's not likely that if a package is maintained by systemd fans they will accept any changes based on keeping it independent of whether systemd is running. My long term concern is that so much stuff becomes so systemd dependent that Devuan becomes unsustainable.

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