2023 hardcore list of linux distributions without elogind and other systemd parts

Welcome antiX and Noir linux to the strict list, with edition 22 antiX is fully functional and lighter than ever without a trace of elogind!

Unfortunately the previous statement of inflating the list must be recalled due to KISS remaining untouched for a long time and Weaverkiss being terminated as a consequence to the lack of Kiss development.

        Edited:  March 2nd 2023 (replacing older strict list)

This list is going to be short and there may be a sublist of distros with a medium strict standard.  We shall explain what the object is, below the short list (which we hope the community will assist in making longer as we have not been able to currently review the work of every distro and fork).

2023 list of “healthy” hardcore distros in alphabetical order

  1.    antiX —> antixlinux.com debian fork without systemd/elogind nearly as famous and popular as Debian itself now
  2.    CarbsLinux —> carbslinux.org (Kiss fork with CPT pkg manager sinit/runit/busybox )
  3.     Glasnost —> www.glasnost.org (Kiss fork – multi-arch tarballs)
  4.     Glaucus linux –> glaucuslinux.org
  5.     Hyperbola Linux —> hyperbola.info A libre gnu-linux  distro like debian with pacman, or arch but stable as debian in transition to a BSD system – so it will be removed again
  6.     Iglunix Linux —> https://github.com/iglunix/iglunix/releases, https://iglunix.xyz. (musl busybox no-gnu + alt kernels + wayland NoX)
  7.     Joborun Linux —> http://pozol.eu Arch based w/o systemd building env Obarun fork/layer [core]  runit + s6/66.
  8.     Kiss Linux –> kisslinux.org independent from community influence (dormant for quite some time)
  9.     Kwort Linux –> kwort.org
  10.     Mere Linux —> merelinux.org  (alpha project – active 12/2022 Musl + pacman )
  11.     Mutiny linux –> mutiny.red
  12.     NOIR linux –> github.com/noirlinux a promising kiss-linux fork with a more aumated building system
  13.     Oasislinux –> oasislinux/oasis
  14.     Obarun Linux –> obarun.org (the most extensive distribution that meets the criteria)
  15.     PCLinuxOS —> pclinuxos.com a long term distro with wide variety of ready made sw without elogind or systemd
  16.     Sabotage Linux  –> sabotage-linux  (most inspiring commitments and goals)
  17.     Superboxon Linux –> superboxon.com  Slackware 15 based BSD type init, no elogind,PAM
  18.     Venom Linux —> venomlinux.org  (forked from LFS – glibc now with runit )
  19. Wyverkiss —> github.com/wyvertux/wyverkiss (forked from Kiss – militant against any Gnu tools – in case Kiss turns to them)   *** terminated development as per site  ***


Please keep the recommendations going, for inclusion and exclusion from the list.  We can not keep and maintain installations for all of them, we count on you.

Hardcore because they seem honest and dedicated to the war against totalitarianism by IBM and other mega corporations to dominate the Open and Free software world.

Basically, after some odd experiences with Nutyx and its full turn into systemd-dom, basic functionality of starting X , such as vte terminals, filemanagers (thunar and pcmanfm) was impossible.  Why was it impossible?  Because they REQUIRE elogind and dbus to be running in order for them to start.  So off this site any further mention of Nutyx.

If such development spreads there has to be a differentiation between distros that include such crap like elogind, for obvious and overly discussed reasons, and DO NOT make their use necessary everywhere that there is no absolute need, to make it necessary.  In other words, there seems to be a new trend from utilizing elogind to accommodate needs of upstream desktop dependencies, but some distros go out of their way to enforce the use of elogind EVERYWHERE THEY CAN! 

There is a qualitative difference between drinking socially, a cocktail, a beer or two, some wine while dining with friends and comrades, AND being a full blown alcoholic where the first thing you do when opening your eyes, is to reach next to your couch, where you slept with your shoes on, and grab the bottle of 151′ proof rum to rinse your mouth, then swallow the mouthwash.  HUGE difference!  

…..  and such madness was listed as systemd free linux on our long list!   No more, that old list will remain to reflect the wide variety of Pid1 switchers.

In light of recent development and discovery of such development, seatd comes to compliment consolekit2 to replicate the functionality of elogind.  Its use in Obarun made starting wayland and sway successful.  The same developer who wrote seatd has also written greetd, a display manager that is wayland compliant without using elogind/systemd.  So the common excuse “we use elogind for wayland” has run out, while with the last edition of ck2 (12/2020 note: there have been later updates to this one) the excuse of it being unmaintained is also fading.  People in the BSD ecosystem are contributing plenty of development for ck2.

The difference between elogind and (ck2-seatd) is size and complexity, and it is counted in multiples.  So for those who follow unix tradition of simplicity, single use, compliance with everything else, the way to go is clear.

Another proposal

What will now be a proposed as a medium strictness list?  Where distros choose to make elogind available, but not absolutely necessary for all X software.

We want to believe that all forms of adelie, antiX, alpine, and Void are still healthy, we are unsure of Artix, but we will investigate and take your recommendations and suggestions as they come.  Our last attempts to start X on artix without elogind were futile, but we may be wrong.

The screen is/will be:

Can X be started without elogind?

Can the most popular WMs start within that X session without elogind?

Can basic common terminals and file-managers start without elogind?

Can common file-managers work without automounting devices?

We can repeat this process with dbus, and there are situations where things start and run fine, even though they may throw some warning and errors for not accessing a running dbus channel, while being 90+% functional, and situations where they lose basic functionality.  Like LibreOffice has the entire prime menu bar (File Edit View … Help) missing when started without a live dbus session, while a ton of their other icon intense menu bars work.

Medium strict list:

  1. adelie adelie.pkgs.org
  2. alpine alpinelinux.org
  3. artix artixlinux.org
  4. gentoo (and forks)  (see the comment below by JM on why it is crossed)
  5. TinyCore Linux  tinycorelinux.net  (simply amazing size and functionality – elogind is present and available but not necessarily used)
  6. void voidlinux.org
  7. Chimera Linux —> chimera-linux.org  (moved down from strict list, it configures software with elogind ON!  Argghhh…!!!!!) (to be removed soon, as users report than X will not start without an instance of the systemd-pest)

Help us fill the blanks here or remove the sick ones if you have direct current experience.

Edit Dec. 30th 2020

This (Slackware & forks) was meant to be yesterday on the list, it is now removed, sadly.  It seemed to have been a nice system we neglected over the past few years.  Ever since Dec 7th 2020 it passed on the other side of one of the many distros succumbing to the pressure, biting the bait, hook, line, and sinkers.

5   Slackware  –> (Zenwalk and Slackel are currently reviewed, no elogind found anywhere, ck2    seems available – specific reviews are coming shortly – that is not to say that all slackware forks will adopt or maintain this commitment, and there are many many of them)

Spoke too soon, there is more elogind enforcement in Slackware than there is in Fedora!



286 thoughts on “2023 hardcore list of linux distributions without elogind and other systemd parts

  1. Artix should also drop from any list, given Artoo’s demeanour demonstrating that he is not willing to avoid elogind for a DE-less xorg install.
    Alpine does not have elogind in the core but lets the community provide it for those who think to need it. There is no obstacle to a minimalist elogind-free desktop.


    • If demeanor was a criterium for being on a list I can hardly think of any of them left on any list 🙂 The question here is whether you can start X or wayland and run a wm and most common gui-applications without elogind. If you can on void and artix, then let them be to separate them from the rest. You probably can with Devuan too, but the package manager is so restrictive and forceful that it will be a constant headache to keep it this way.

      The sad thing is that you can take xorg/wayland from antiX, obarun, joborun, probably kiss and forks, and run elogind or even systemd, and dbus, and they still work fine, and I believe that is the way it should be.

      So you are saying that Alpine should be elevated to the strict list? I haven’t played with it for quite a while, I chose Adelie as a cleaner system also employing s6. I can’t remember how the separation of repositories between core and community happens in Alpine.

      Unfortunately I don’t have much time to be distrohopping anymore for the sake of reporting so I rely on your feedback. If the community can justifiably say that this distro belongs here, this other one needs removal, all I will do is execute the decision. It was meant to be a community driven blog not a personal one.


      • Well i wonder why you have antix on a list and not devuan. I know it uses elofind and i don’t find it particullary bad (till we find a replacement).
        I like fvwm and other wm’s like icewm and all work straightforward if i want to. I am in search for a dinit distribution but nothing comes in mind. Unfortunatelly chimera is antiGnu and i am fully GNU. It’s not only the support but the license of GNU which is superior.

        As for slackware someone made an elogind-free 100% nosystemD project based on slackware. It is called superboxon. They claim: Simple text and Human friendly configuration files,
        Traditional graphic user interface (GUI),
        No overbloated security measures like PAM, systemd/elogind, SELinux, etc...

        so you could add this distribution too!


        • Well i wonder why you have antix on a list and not devuan. I know it uses elofind and i don’t find it particullary bad (till we find a replacement).

          Consolekit2 and seatd are well developed replacements. Very complete and functional. I hear peoples’ gnome and plasma run fine on X or wayland.

          KISS linux has shown how you can build and run no-X-wayland without even seatd or ck2.

          Devuan may be OK, as bad as MX, but the people running it are absolute fascists and liars. Every time a critical voice on Devuan has been heard Devuans eliminate every evidence this entity ever existed.

          People have been cursing anticapitalista on his face and forum for years for his politics, he simply ignores those idiots.

          A HIGH QUALITY difference on character.


  2. I decided to give Venom another try, i have always had a soft spot for this distro but never had a suitable hardware for a daily use of it. So I took my brand new laptop with an octacore CPU and 16 Gb RAM and installed venom there with high hopes but.. It was a total fail, it took ages to upgrade llvm and clang (the latter failed too), let alone a kernel of a web browser, i didn’t ever dare to try. Maybe one thing that could help would be offering some binary pre-built versions of the longest packages but its a source based distro, the dev clearly states it and I can’t expect him to change his philosophy. That’s a pity, it’s one of the best distros that i have met but it looks like it needs a very powerful level of hardware to make it suitable for a regular home use.


      • GNU utils often contain non-Posix-approved extensions and are much slower than most alternatives, as seen in the case of bash and gawk.


  3. Puppy does not use elogind by default, as I infer from some messages on their forum where people describe difficulties in adding PAM and elogind for applications requesting them.

    I do not know whether Alpine is suited for the stricter list, but I just pointed out that there are large differences among those on the medium list.

    Busybox-based systems are probably generally designed for situations where seated sessions make technically no sense.


  4. Is the inclusion of rusting kernels and of zstd for package management also to be considered a knockout criterium?


    • How do you turn rust off in the kernel config?
      Removing or changing CONFIG_HAVE_RUST=y doesn’t work.
      I tried several times and it ignored my changes and somewhere else ‘automatically’ includes it.


      • What will happen when key components of the core base system that are found in EVERY linux distribution are rewritten in rust? What if the common compiler we use is written in rust, what to do then?

        Maybe the good people who begun the work of Alpine, Adelie, Kiss, etc. have the foresight of the dark future we begin to see now, and are providing the best tools for us in order to avoid the condemnation of the entire FOSS project?


        • We still have good people in Suckless doing quality software, it’s too barebones sometimes, but not shit. Well, we know that Rust sucks 100%, it introduces a more difficult life instead of solving something. A trademarked bloatware with repository hell.

          We still have compilers that work:

          The difficult and the worst part, is that shit inside the kernel. All we, should to continue the good roots and legacy.


            • Yeah, here is still people thinking right and not thinking corporate.
              I use some software from Suckless, and I prefer it over overbloated mainstream alternatives, it just works and does the main job well, and never gets on your way, imposing things on you. If something is wrong, the code is easier to understand, and the code is more reliable, and almost dependencieless.


              • I personally don’t mind dependencies as long I can detect where the problem is coming from when it occurs. But this isn’t the case on those big software macaroni: When they reach some sort of situation that they break things because they just change the ideas, it’s just easy to blame others like “it’s not our fault, their software should change, won’t fix”.


                • Sounds like GNOME and well known GTK, are good examples in breaking all third party software. And “won’t fix” reminds me systemd.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Gnome have pretty much the same way to deal with issues of systemd. Sad that GTK 2 wasn’t that bad and turned into this.


                    • But they are part of the same deal, it is expected. What is not expected is Qt/KDE crap being written exclusively to conform to systemd expansionism, Qt being borderline non-free, a pretty large multinational corporation itself, and distros who were “created” out of the “anti-systemd” sentiment to be dumping LXDE for LXQT.

                      TWM/VTWM haven’t been touched for years, they were pretty much one person’s creations, still work pretty well, despite of all the traps thrown around for terminal but functional software to fall in. Get one piece of sw, like mozilla browser, to have dysfunctional menus when run on those old wm environments, and people anandon them.

                      Liked by 1 person

              • I wish FOSS would have stayed that way, even if performance and utility was sacrificed to a degree, and we could still control our systems, we can debug problems easily, and we can build software the old fashioned way. With rust and go everything is turning to a web of corporate giga-code that is unauditable and uncontrollable. Just like when they took carbs off of engines and replaced them with complicated e-injectors. e-sensors, and e-chips. You may be an F1 mechanic but when the light blinks red and you pull off the road … there is little you can do.

                And they have us believe “corporations” did this to benefit the environment! I want my 2stroke back with a point ignition and a matchbox of jets in my jacket 🙂


    • If we go down this deep, and nobody here says we shouldn’t, there may be nothing left, or if there is we would be pointing towards a single distro, meaning the reason we came up with such criteria is to promote that one distro that can meet them all.


    • Kiss seems to have provided a starting point for someone to build their own system, but I assume from time to time there will be a modification or upgrade to this base.
      Wyverkiss I don’t know, but if you have direct inside information that is abandoned or terminated and you think it should be removed, let us know or encourage the dev/s to send us a note of this fact.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wasn’t it down before? I had no luck opening the page since a year ago (I simply learned about this site back then), even with VPN or Tor


  5. I appreciate all you work. The best website for systemd-free community. I understand all crap about systemd, elogind, but what is wrong with dbus? I think it is usually needed component in GNU/Linux desktop.

    I always prefer Arch or Slackware instead of Debian based. Superboxon has problems, and pretty broken, because not finished work I think. Using GRUB in gfxmode (not console TUI) in an distro install, it’s very very bad idea (like in PCLinuxOS). Some GPUs, hardware, coreboot… can’t see GRUB’s menu, because it’s boot in gfxmode as default. The most useable distro from the list is AntiX.

    I hope the guy who did Superboxon fix it. Because it’s great idea, but badly done.


    • “I think it is usually needed component in GNU/Linux desktop.”

      That’s what I thought as well, then I learned that there is very little I can not do from what I do, because dbus is not running.


  6. Kiss has at least still an active community of irc libera chat. There is no lifer sign of mutiny, though.

    If Kss fails, noir and glasnost will fall as well, as they depend on archives of Kiss.


    • A whistle blowing friend send me this today https://github.com/chimera-linux/turnstile

      It made my day! Every thing systemd is being criticized for this projecting is clarifying it will not do, from the main README post. A logind agnostic to init and service supervision/mgmnt

      Chimera, our come and go comet, one day going elogind the next leaving, is the base for displaying its use.

      Good news, good day.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Finally, after years of disappointment, I managed to buy a new laptop that has the right specifications for running Venom Linux. I have to say that I’m really impressed, it’s an independent distro but with tons of packages, thank to the unrelenting work of the lead dev and the two main packagers. It’s source based but, if you don’t want to wait too long for huge software like browsers or kernel, they offer pre-built binaries too. The only official init is sysV or, better, kind of a mix between sysV and BSD’s RC init. However, runit is in the works unless quite unstable for now, and they plan on implementing other inits (hopefully my beloved s6/66). Dbus is enabled by default, yes, I guess it’s because they use networkmanager and automounting, I still haven’t tried to disable it and just generate a wpa-supplicant.conf file or manually mount a device, but I think it is possible. The dev team is very nice and helpful, tho they mostly rely on a telegram channel. For now, seeing what is happening to obarun and until Chimera drops elogind, Venom has become my daily driver.

    Liked by 1 person

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