Myth busted: Can you run sway/wayland’s i3 without systemd or elogind?

For those who want to skip the discussion and get right to it follow the steps at this README

For a while, we have heard this justification, among distributions that have refused systemd as init, that elogind was adopted as a necessity for running wayland which is the future of graphical desktops.  Some future this is, but anyway.  For Artix it was a day one decision, for Void and Adelie it has been a year or more, for Slackware a few months.  But it is only a handful of distros at this point that have totally refused the use of elogind and stick to consolekit2 (which was recently upgraded upstream unlike common myth that has it abandoned).  Consolekit2 can handle logind functionality but can’t provide seat management.  So there is seatd, a daemon that just does this.  So count the different functions, unrelated to each other, that systemd provides all in one huge blob.Sway is the equivalent of i3 for wayland.  For i3 users their setup transfers 100% to sway, all modified functionality will be there once you login.

Wlroots is wayland’s modular library.  This is native in obarun and maintained to help wayland function without systemd/elogind.  It is currently kept back at 0.12 as Arch but will be soon upgraded to 0.13.

Greetd – wlgreet is a display manager compatible with wayland.  This has a PKGBUILD at the link above so you can build it appropriately for Obarun.

Seatd is a Seat management daemon and library

Both seatd and greetd are marvels of Kenny Levinsen, the genius that realized what was needed and provided us with a way out of the dead end.

None of these are officially supported as a desktop setup in Obarun yet, but the setup is a demonstration that it can be done.  Can it be done with sysv, openrc, runit?  We don’t know.  Can it be done with s6?  Since it is done within Obarun it can be done.  Whether you can handle the complex service setup without 66 and in lack of any other service manager, who knows!  Of course you can cheat and employ 66, do the setup, then remove 66 and leave it as is, as a pseudo custom s6 setup of services.  Don’t cry if one day you decide to switch services, disable one, enable another, without 66.  The procedure can make a tough man cry.

Gavin Falconer or bbsg in Obarun forum, has started this thread for the discussion of this project/solution.  A how-to instructional thread.  A few of us have tried it and made it work.  I am sure it will receive plenty of attention and refinements in the near future, and possibly be adopted officially as an Obarun setup, with all the related packages added to the repositories.  For now it is a community project, and it is proof that it can be done.

Again, the sole source for this myth busting project is here:

Gavin didn’t set out in busting any myths, he just had 2 incompatible screens that he wanted employing his i3 setup, didn’t want to use systemd (or its sub-parts), and recognized Obarun’s 66 is the solution to his problems.  Ok, not your average Linux user or sysadmin, but it takes such a genius to comprehend the value of 66.

As for me, it was just a joy to having the myth busted, I wish I had it 3 months earlier when half the Slackware nomenclature chased me out of LinuxQuestions all the way to this blog to tell me how wrong I was to criticize the “absolute necessity” of having to use elogind in Slackware so the “new Plasma” can run.  Slackware’s (and others’) myth BUSTED!  And of course plasma did run without elogind back then as well, but not without wayland, which started the huge discussion, about not clarifying that detail.

Other than Gavin, thanks also to the o/f-BSD communities whose drive to have the Gnome/Plasma candy has provided several myth busting solutions.  All the CAN NOT DO WITHOUT SYSTEMD, IBM is promoting through its financed and controlled media in the IT world, is crumbling down as lies.

PS   And since this works in Obarun, and the key is 66, sway, seatd, is also available in Void, not greetd yet, but wlroots, xdg-desktop-portal-wlr, are there alongside with 66.  Add repository= mobinmob’s repository for service files.

5 thoughts on “Myth busted: Can you run sway/wayland’s i3 without systemd or elogind?

  1. Has libswc, used by Oasis linux for its own wayland compositor (Velox), been tested with seatd and greetd already? Oasis looks otherwise promising for employing preferrably suckless solutions.

    I fear that it will still be impossible to switch between a running waylabnd and console session at whim, as is possible under xorg.


  2. I didn’t give credit to Kenny Levinsen, didn’t even realize the same guy made both, my apologies.

    Gavin Falconer says:

    The genius here is Kenny Levinsen who created seatd/libseat and greetd. In particular libseat which provides a sane abstraction API that frees application developers from having to interact directly with elogind. Please do give him credit in your posting.


  3. I hope major init freedom supporting distros collaborate to get Consolekit2 to work with Gnome and KDE Plasma DEs.


  4. Both of those are products of the products of major multinational corporations who try to control linux and open/free software industry as a whole. So why should distros whose aim is to provide independence from those corporations’ choke hold on linux, do extra work to provide functionality to the products of the same corporations?

    I would say it is a waste of time. Any fool considering use of Gnome or Plasma desktops a necessity will not get it through their thick skull why they need to stay away from systemd to begin with. If it was my distro I would have it on the front page. DO NOT ASK why gnome or plasma apps don’t function. We don’t care!

    This marketing logic to do extra work so something becomes popular, or provide functionality for what is popular is contradictory to building a distro without marketing in mind, or specific anti-marketing in mind. Otherwise those non-systemd distros would be running behind the freight train like hungry dogs behind the delivery scooter.

    IBM and QT corporations don’t give a damn about distrohoppers, they care about profit from major consulting contracts and want to have products of their own to charge an arm and a leg for. To counter MS and Apple, they need Gnome and Plasma.

    In my view, Qt is not really free or open software, it is a profit product. Most Plasma today is still based on qt5 which is deprecated and unsupported unless you have purchased a license by Qt. Qt6 is the current stable, open-free platform which will eventually be replaced by qt7. If you run into a qt5 bug, that is tough, Qt doesn’t care to provide you a solution, and if they provide a solution only their paying customers will know.


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