Linux greybeards release beta of systemd-free Debian fork

Devuan 'Jessie' betas debut in the name of 'Init freedom'

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The effort to create a systemd-free Debian fork has borne fruit, with a beta of “Devuan Jessie” appearing in the wild.

Devuan came into being after a rebellion by a self-described “Veteran Unix Admin collective” argued that Debian had betrayed its roots and was becoming too desktop-oriented. The item to which they objected most vigorously was the inclusion of the systemd process manager. The rebels therefore decided to fork Debian and “preserve Init freedom”. The group renamed itself and its distribution “Devuan” and got to work, promising a fork that looked, felt, and quacked like Debian in all regards other than imposing systemd as the default Init option.

The group initially promised to deliver in Spring 2015. Alphas circulated during 2015 and in recent days betas have appeared here. Versions for the Raspberry Pi, Banana Pi and AMD64 are on offer.

Kudos, though, to the group for getting it out there! Now to see if there's really a groundswell of support for the cause of “Init freedom”, as the greybeards name their cause.

The inclusion of systemd appears not to be holding rival Linux distros back: our review of Ubuntu 16.04 suggests it will be a speed bump for most users. Our Debian Jessie review said it slices a few seconds off boot times but is removable with little fuss for those who would prefer to go their own way at startup time. ®

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