Not a systemd fan? Here are 11 systemd-free Linux distributions 2

Not a systemd fan? Here are 11 systemd-free Linux distributions

systemd is a popular init system adopted by most major Linux distributions and supported by dozens of developers and companies.

In case you’re curious, the init system is the first process after the Linux kernel takes action in the boot process to initialize various device management, logging, and network services. You may also know them as demons.

Technically, systemd solved numerous problems that made Linux distributions more reliable for use on desktop and massive server configurations.

So it’s safe to say that many believe it’s purpose is to make the boot process reliable and fast, with the ability to initialize things in parallel.

However, there are other users who absolutely hate the inclusion in modern Linux distributions. Hence demanding systemd-free Linux distributions.

But why is it like that?

Also, what options do you have if you don’t want systemd on your Linux system?

This article briefly explains why some users prefer system-free distros and some of the best options available.

Why systemd-free alternatives?

First and foremost, systemd is considered a bloated implementation compared to the classic init systems like SysVinit (or System V init).

It’s also believed to go against the UNIX philosophy, where the goal should have been to keep things simple and focus on getting a single thing done efficiently.

In addition, systemd is a complex implementation with various modules, potentially increasing the attack surface compared to SysVinit.

In addition to some of these reasons, desktop environments like GNOME and KDE are known to depend on systemd components. However, some argue that other tools/services shouldn’t depend entirely on systemd and take away a user’s liberty to use a different init system.

11 Systemd Free Linux Distribution Options

However, the list of distros without systemd includes some options that use praise and some systemd parts.

These are some of the options that will help you run distros without systemd while still fulfilling some of the systemd dependencies.

Don’t fret, the list also includes options that are completely systemd-free without elogind and other systemd parts. The list mentions the use of the same wherever necessary.

The list is in no particular order of precedence.

1. Devuan

2. AntiX

3. Invalidate Linux

4. Gobo Linux

5. Alpine Linux

6. Artix

7. TinyCore Linux

8. Chimera Linux

9. Venom Linux

10. Kiss Linux

Kiss Linux is a rolling release distribution that requires you to download the tarball, unpack, and rebuild the system to suit your needs.

The default init system is busybox. But you can also experiment with other init systems.

11. PC Linux OS

systemd or not?

Bloat or not, systemd has made it possible to simplify numerous things while improving performance.

You won’t have any compatibility issues if you choose a distribution with systemd.

Considering that most major Linux distributions rely on it, it makes sense to offer the end user a better user experience.

However, if you want an init system that follows the traditional approach, systemd-free distributions should suit you just fine.

Note that you might face some problems/challenges when it comes to some systemd-free distributions. So make sure you do your research before trying anything.

If you know of another good Linux distro that doesn’t use systemd, let us know in the comments.


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