Vote on your favorite init system on Distrowatch

Opinion poll: Preferred init software

It is time to really show that the non-systemd movement is not of negligible importance and people are going out of their way to avoid it, like the plague!

For a long while we have been blasted with the idea that “most” or “almost everyone” uses systemd, but there are no reliable data on the number of users, nor does such number conclude of what people use is what people like, or would rather use.  Interestingly enough this weekly issue of Distrowatch’s editorial finds this poll and a top headline review of Devuan 2.0.  Despite of MX linux being a systemd-free distro and climbing to top 10, or antix following close behind, Devuan receives priority by reviewers.  Both MX and Antix stable distributions have been following Debian’s Stretch for almost a year, but now that Devuan caught up with them, it is of high interest.  In defense of Devuan, the reviewer doesn’t seem too familiar with systems outside of ms-windows.  Poor thing, he is missing his volume icon!  What do you mean “Devuan’s”, not Debian’s, software are a year old?  I’d be the last person to defend Devuan, but come on distrowatch, Devuan by your own definition is Debian without systemd.

Dare you ask how do you get your distribution to be reviewed by Distrowatch?  I am sure the sales department would show you right through the hallway and to the right door to knock.

Nevertheless, in this early stage of this poll systemd only gets 39%, so where do unsubstantiated defense statements “most people now”, and “almost everyone”, go with 39%?  Is it because 90% of the 310 listed distros on distowatch are systemd based, and more than half of them are Debian based, and that is what people are running whether they like it or not?

Not that such voting means anything, but for once someone will allow some data on what users want, instead of what developers pick, to show.  Of course some systemd trolls may run bot-scripts and use tor or other ip altering techniques to run up the statistics, but still, this 39% of this early stage is indicative that this monopoly/monstrosity is not as popular as some Red Hat and Debian “salesmen” would have you believe.

So, GO, vote on your favorite init system.  I did, S6 all the way baby, and if I had a second favorite it would be runit.  If you followed debates in the Debian cult-world for years you may have the impression that the init-war is about systemd and sysv.  This polarization was used heavily to paint a picture of the “old” init (sysv) and the “new” init (systemd).  No more!

10 thoughts on “Vote on your favorite init system on Distrowatch

  1. Harvey, I’m somewhat confident that if you were to write a “guest author” review article & submit it to DW, they would publish it.

    “Devuan receives priority by reviewers.” Well, it’s been 2yrs since DW last reviewed Devuan, so to me the timing of this latest article seems appropriate.

    ” this poll systemd only gets 39%” ok, you don’t REALLY believe the DW readership serves as a representative sample, do you? Hey, I did click the vote, but the DW polls are rather pointless. Those polls are like bikeshedding fodder. Otherwise, the impaired readers can’t dream up any topic to comment about, eh?


  2. How did you know my name was Harvey?
    I thought last review was June 2017, when Devuan 1 was realeased. It is barely a year.
    Last antiX review was edition 15, edition 17 started out a year ago, when Stretch was released.
    Anyway, it doesn’t matter, everyone knows that if you pay for an ad in distrowatch you get special attention, business as usual. If one thing bothers me in Distrowatch is dropping the init tag on the main description.
    The other thing that bothers me is flooding of systems that are just desktop makeovers of distros like debian and arch. That makes the significance of devuan, antix, mx, artix, obarun, alpine, void, who produce tons of real system work less than they deserve.

    You are right about inconclusive data by distrowatch/hoppers but some data is better than no data.


  3. Maybe spellchecker autocorrection? I probably tried to type Hey and spelled it wrong. Of course your name is Gustavio. Time flies, I see what you mean about the year ago timespan since previous DW review of Devuan. Really do usually agree that their choice of which distro to review and when, and most of the time if i have trialed the distro being reviewed, nearly always agree with the overall takeaway of the review. Reading review notes about themes and color schemes make me cringe though. In the screenshots, we can SEE what the colors are, duh.

    Comment now this week asking or suggesting derivates of Devuan should also be covered. Led me to mumble gawd Please, no, same as my reaction to requests for coverage of the many many ububuntu derivates. I noticed what you mentioned about removal of the init callout on each distro’s specs page. It wasn’t 100% accurate anyways, and was confusing when looking at a distro which has multiple flavours or release variations. Like mint, and this (as ever, not 100% accurate and misunderstood) is mentioned by this week’s comments. LMDE2 still has sysV init, but you can’t gauge that from the birdseye view. If LMDE3 sticks with sysV, but I’m not holding my breath, that will probably rock a few boats. BTW, did you know that Jesse Smith of DW is maintaining, is release manager for, the sysV init project? I was surprised to read in the review that he’s using MX linux, really thought he was sticking with LMDE for daily use.

    ok, you’re onboard with s6. Glad to hear it’s working well. I haven’t tried many of the available alternative init and service supervision schemes.


  4. That’s funny, hey Harvey and Gustavo, as my reaction to the comment was that you might be Jessie Smith himself 🙂
    I did not notice what you said about the MX use, it wasn’t part of the Devuan review, but it was further down on software review. But now I am double surprised that someone using MX, probably for the same reasons I avoid pulseaudio (!!!) would be wondering where the volumeicon is. (???).
    What we have to credit Refracta (Fsmithred) with is that through his work to get OpenRC and eudev to work in Devuan, Devuan now has an alternative to its init, where in AntiX/MX the same is impossible to possible hard to do. Fsmithred had this in experimental and worked by following a few basic instructions on how to replace the init system with a true OpenRC init since last Fall (2017). It took months for the oligarchy to accept it into Ascii.

    I am not fanatic about S6, I find runit even easier to configure, but I progressively see that s6 in design has some advantages. I think both of those systems anyone can spend a weekend and become proficient or even hack them to custom fit a system. I don’t think they can do the same with sysvinit. OpeRC is simple in its day to day management but it seems much more complex deep inside.

    Now I am getting a new toy to play around with, after I gave up Gentoo madness. At a certain age (being older than Fortran) you may decide you are too old to learn or relearn some things and bad habits, so I hopped over to Alpine. Alpine is a little gem with low visibility. It uses musl instead of glibc (Void recently had been giving a musl fork of its system a try), and busybox. Busybox seems like a minimalist systemd, a tiny little thing that does init and a few other tasks but sticks to them and not expand into everything else. This is one of those systems that when you get it running you wonder what everyone else is doing and why. This is a KISS variation, keep it Simple and Small. And you can run a full desktop on top of this little thing, other than use it for servers. If Alpine is a 2stroke little bike, Debian is a recycling yard’s dumpster truck. Devuan then is the same truck with an electric engine. I hope you can excuse my vehicle analogies 🙂

    When all testing, updating and upgrading is done, at the end of the day I always find myself back to Obarun, sometimes Artix, sometimes Void. After the alpine experience I am poised to convert my void into musl. I hate messing up a good thing, but I hear good stories from those that have tried it. Void now has installation images with musl, paralleling their main images with glibc.


  5. Hey Sami, look at the poll results after 6 days, surprised? I am!

    Preferred init software

    SysV init: 691 (37%)
    systemd: 627 (34%)
    OpenRC: 240 (13%)
    runit: 137 (7%)
    s6: 47 (3%)
    RC: 30 (2%)
    Upstart: 27 (1%)
    Busybox init: 15 (1%)
    nosh: 7 (0%)
    Other: 39 (2%)

    Sysv-OpenRC-s6-runit = 60%


  6. The results of an older Distrowatch poll about systemd alone:

    Opinion Poll archive

    Poll results for: systemd usage

    I use systemd and like it: 787 (30%)
    I use systemd and dislike it: 318 (12%)
    I am not using systemd and plan to use it: 111 (4%)
    I am not using systemd and plan to avoid it: 1170 (44%)
    Other: 260 (10%)

    So 56% again are set against systemd, of the DW readers.


  7. I think distrowatch is primarily for people who are not really happy with anything they have tried, they are always looking for something better. The hundreds that use S6, Obarun users, never look back at Distrowatch, they will not even look at Obarun forum as they never have any problems. Those 40-50 who voted for S6 must be all those new people who tried Obarun this past month when it first appeared on Distrowatch.


  8. Hi there KernelKurtz
    With your nickname I thought you would care to comment on the linux417-speck issue but you haven’t yet.
    I don’t know whether the one front is related to the other, but as far as I can tell from the distros I follow, antix, artix, and void have the speck module turned off, arch intentionally turned it on and I am pretty sure debian is doing the same too, although stable debian may not see 4.17 for a year or two.

    What seems controversial in those distrowatch statistics is that the top 5-6 distros (in popularity) all have systemd, while in the poll OpenRC beat systemd, and non-systemd init systems got 67%. Maybe the manjaro, ubuntu, mint, debian fans don’t care to participate in the poll. I am just glad to see runit and s6 getting their deserved attention through that poll.


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