It all started with curiosity and we all know what this may get for a cat. But we are not cats, and discoveries were always made by the curious. Neither the labels unstable, testing, experimental, nor the initial experience was enough to keep this bear away from the honey.
distro.ibiblio.org/refracta/files/experimental is Refracta’s experimental work, isos, refracta packages, and occasionally init alternatives. distro.ibiblio.org/refracta/files/experimental/ascii_oblx_eudv_oprc-20170813_2222.iso is a mysterious link that needs decoding. It is an iso you can run in a VM or push it into a USB stick or DVD, and boot its live system. The use refracta to make a quick and clean installation of whatever you have configured and adjusted in the live system.
Decoding the name of the iso –> Ascii stands for current Devuan testing, or Devuan 2.0, a parallel to Debian Stretch which is now stable, without systemd infestation, of course! OBLX stands for OpenBox with some LXde goodies. Just what I always use anyway. Eudev is an alternative to udev developed initially by Gentoo. Udev in Devuan is a very similar replacement to systemd’s udev, almost like a clone to eudev fooling programs it is the real udev from debian. Eudev package is available through Devuan’s experimental repository, not yet admitted to unstable (ceres) or is it sid, we are a bit confused still. This is the same place (experimental in devuan) you will find the 5 packages that constitute the Refracta group of software, a real gem if you ask me. Finally oprc stands for OpenRC (Gentoo developed init system) and date_serial_number stands for when the iso was created after the final configuration of bringing all those parts together in one.
If you are in Devuan do as devuaners do --> https://git.devuan.org/dev1fanboy/Upgrade-Install-Devuan/wikis/ascii-upgrade and the experimental repository is http://pkgmaster.devuan.org/devuan/experimental
On the first try in early September when we discovered this we managed to make an installation but couldn’t figure out why X would not start. Due to a peculiarity in my hardware and the lack of complete code in x-server, it wouldn’t work. I came back 2 months later willing to figure it all out. Thanks to all the help by the Refracta chief it worked, both live and H-metal installed.
Somehow Devuan with a more modern init and supervision system than sysvinit we here believe is a clear look in the future and outcome of things. Getting to know OpenRC in other distributions and feeling confident that it never fails, it is simple and light, and then for redundancy you could add runit as a supervisor which with some hacking can become an init system itself. If all fails with one init system the second one will get you $HOME.
Is Refracta really Devuan or something else? Refracta is Devuan together with the Refracta tools which are an irreplaceable marvel. This particular edition is not Devuan 1.0 but Devuan 2.0 which we all hope will be stable soon. It has been stable for quite a while as this and Ceres is the only Devuan we know since Devuan 1.0 was formally announced. Is there something in Debian you want that you can’t have here? Unless it explicitly is systemd and its core packages we don’t think there is. Even some gnome and pulseaudio stuff work in Devuan just like in Debian, it is just that the vast majority of us would rather not even hear those names. We get goose-bumps. But the poison keeps running deeper and further.
Devuan seems like the long term barricade of defence. Devuan is just getting ready for the much anticipated clash. The clash will take place in large scale enterprise systems where it is crucial that servers are optimized and stable without all the fluff systemd creates. Servers need to be easily and quickly diagnosed and tuned or they bring down a whole chain of collapse. For those that think the primary target is single hobby users and their need to make cinnamon or plasma pretty and fast, they are missing the tree for the forest. System admins have their own forums and lists to share their problems and hacks. Wait till the word goes out, that wheezy isn’t dead yet.
For me this system of Refracta with OpenRC is the door to the other side I have been pursuing. Others here have a liking to Arch and Artix and Obarun, and we will stay together. I can’t ask for much more for myself though, it is as if I have reached the end of the trail. Of course as soon as Ascii becomes stable I would be the first to report on Beowulf (Devuan 3.0), a long kept secret.
Note: I believe that Stretch on the other side will be a very short lived Debian, Buster is much better, but only time will tell. What Debian went all out to do in Jessie and then Stretch has already realized it is an unmanageable mess. Buster is an effort to trim back the mess, but this is where it is clashing with its own init system trying to bridge and isolate everything with everything. It is a militaristic central command system, native to totalitarian regimes, applied in a system founded with freedom and independence in mind. It is like expecting the Irish to accept a Queen to rule all of the Irish.
On the other hand, systemd-debian would make a splendid Windows 11, all locked in binaries and redundancy. I like to think of Debian as a rogue fork of Devuan!