On Devuan and Debian

As you probably know, I’m all heart and soul into FreeBSD. I simply love it and cannot accept anything (apart from other BSDs) that would remind me of true Unix. However, I’m also quite naive and in my naivety I again decided to look for Unix in GNU/Linux. I pondered over Gentoo, Arch Linux and CRUX, though for various reasons I realized that neither of them is a distribution I could just quickly install and get on with my life (Python coding, hardware tinkering, etc.). Then, I remembered there is Devuan, which I’ve already used some time ago and was quite satisfied with it.

One could say Devuan was founded by Debian developers who went rogue. That’s the common misconception, unfortunately. The truth is a lot less dramatic. There was a disagreement on the default init system in Debian “Jessie” and a lot of experienced Debian developers decided to exert their right to fork. “Jessie” was the first Debian version to use systemd as the init and supervisor suite. I believe it was far too early as an init system requires years to mature. Roughly half of Debian developers shared such opinion. Devuan, like former Stable “Wheezy”, uses sysVinit and tries to adhere to the Unix ideology by utilizing basic Debian utilities for system tasks. As the notion of Taco Bell Programming states, almost everything can be done with just those basic tools.

Much has been said about systemd already. Despite its presumably obvious merits, it is still buggy and the bugs tend to be quite severe. More so, it doesn’t really solve any problems other than the ones it creates. I wouldn’t want to run something as dangerous on my mission critical machines. As simple as that. It has nothing to do with trust and everything to do with perceived software stability.

Devuan, being a spiritual successor of “Wheezy”, free from the Debian reign may now grow in extremely interesting directions. As sysVinit allows the use of additional supervisors, I think a lot can be done with such flexibility (s6 anyone?). Also, it might be prime time to clean up the GNU mess of numerous overlapping tools and remove the ones that are outdated, vulnerable or lack upstream maintenance.

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