Musing about Debian alternatives

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Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby Bulkley » 2019-01-06 00:10

So as not to derail Head_on_a_Stick's Testing thread I'm moving my musings over here.

I like Debian. I migrated to it from Libranet (long since defunct), attracted by the wonderful package management. Not only can we install a package with apt-get install [package name] but Debian provides several thousand choices. Wow! Even more important, the packages are clean, uncontaminated by advertisements, misdirections and/or malware. Something, however, has been changing in Debian. It's tempting to point a finger at Systemd but I think it to be more symptom than cause. Am I sensing creeping corporatism? Maybe. Then maybe it has to do with the shift to hand held devices. Whatever, things are changing, mostly for the better, some making me wonder WTF?

Like many of you I like to explore other distros. I've played with VM but prefer live-USBs or CDs. (Personal choices don't have to make sense.) I experimented with (in no particular order) Liberte', Devuan, Ubuntu, Tails, Salix, Storm 2000 (remember that one?), Antix, Kali, Crunchbang, Mint, and many more which I can't remember at the moment. There is a lot of creativity out there; I applaud all those contributing in whatever way to the Linux experience. Those people at Devuan deserve a ton of credit; that's a massive project. Still, I come back to Debian.

Lately I've been playing with MX Linux. It's beautifully put together however I find many things more complicated than necessary for my taste. If only MX released a minimal version . . . :wink: MX has a nice approach to Systemd which is controlled rather than in control. MX also has some great tools. For example, the MX version of Live USB Install is much better than that in the Debian repository. Thanks, Steve.

Has anyone tried removing/controlling Systemd following the instructions here? How did that turn out?
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Re: Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby golinux » 2019-01-06 01:18

A lot of folks used the angband repos in the early days of Devuan. But if I remember correctly Adam Borowski closed things down not long ago. Did you actually try connecting to see if they are still accessible?
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Re: Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby HuangLao » 2019-01-06 02:01

Just my humble opinion if you want Debian sans systemd then Devuan is the best option, they are even working with Debian to maintain sysv and init freedom, you can also use openRC or runit.

If you want something other then Debian sans systemd, then Slackware or Salix are the best options, other then the *BSD's.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=134342
https://www.devuan.org/os/documentation ... nbox-guide
or already assembled https://sourceforge.net/projects/miyolinux/
or a more complete list: https://devuan.org/os/partners/devuan-distros

PS: I have tried several times with Debian, on bare metal and VM, to PIN systemd to the wall of shame, and it always eventually causes it to crash and burn. Reality is packages need to be excluded and others must be rebuilt to remove the dependency. The infection is so deep that I do not see it being possible with Debian, so Devuan or Slackware or BSD's. Eventually I predict (magic 8 ball) that MX and antiX will come to that conclusion as well and rebase off Devuan. But that's neither here nor there and I can't keep shaking the 8 ball.
Last edited by HuangLao on 2019-01-06 02:07, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby Bulkley » 2019-01-06 02:03

golinux wrote:A lot of folks used the angband repos in the early days of Devuan. But if I remember correctly Adam Borowski closed things down not long ago. Did you actually try connecting to see if they are still accessible?


No. It was at least a year ago when I played with Devuan on a live-CD but I don't remember trying to install anything extra.
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Re: Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby xepan » 2019-01-06 05:07

For a while i tried to follow that how-to, so i could stick to debian but avoid systemd.
In general it did work, but it just doesn't feel right. Can't say more, because i haven't booted it in quite a few months.
Worth a try, thats for sure.

I think to me the better option for debian-based without systemd would be MX, antiX or devuan.
But i think if one really wants to avoid systemd, then debian-based just isn't a good choice in general, and mainly in the long run. Because what you said:
but I think it to be more symptom than cause.


The last 2-3 years i switched from 10 years Debian to Gentoo, then to Salix, then to Slackware, i quit computing for a year, then used Debian old-stable-sysv on the Mac powerpc, and now am using Void, which serves me well (all of the mentioned do their job, void is to me the most close to debian's comfort - debian sid sure - though with way smaller repositories).
dragora is really cool, i always got an eye on it. Between all the others i hardly see a real difference, dragora is an alternative (guix too, i guess, i couldn't even install it :-) ).

No Arch? No Arch. Never, and probably never will.

-
I sure do miss the good old days. It was lots of fun. I guess they are gone. These days i had more hope to have some fun in small projects, say scripting channels, say darknets, say freedombox, than in linux in general.
due too hand-held devices? well possible. Folks often communicate the way they communicate in an office. Suits. As opposed to ? hackers. hackers? playful cleverness, with cheeks. Think of MeanDean.
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Re: Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby llivv » 2019-01-06 08:29

I still haven't found the trick of mixing the right set of packages in jessie to get stretch to run without too much systemd.. The problems show up in xserver gtk-3 and the transition from libinput0 > libinput1 and their deps.There maybe a few others in jessie and stable I'm not current on

But I've been running sid using only libsystemd0 since jessie released. And for a few months I also needed libsystemd-login0 with sid, blah......
And those were a long quiet 3 or 4 years for me, not knowing when I was going to have to find a new OS.
Content to be pluggin along on a slightly different track than Devuan, but definitely a different track than mainstream debian, gnome, kde, xfce, etc etc
If I need something I apt it ude cause the menu is the easiest way for me to make sure systemd stays uninstalled. And I'd rather stay free of systemd than use a DE., be it bloatware or otherwise.
There maybe a day when I no longer have a choice. So far fingers crossed.....

I've run slack a few times and have a buttload of old CD/DVD's with everything under the sun. backtrack crypto-something anonymous systemrescue gparted debian-live sarge CD set etch CD set backups etc This machine don't even have an optical and I've rarely used sticks. I still have a 128MiB stick that boots to etch or sid?- cli / extra space and a 2.4 kernel I made10 years ago.
I ran a butu 6GiB experimental image on top of a minimal lenny install for a couple of days and that was plenty for me to see what kind of differences there were between the the two.
Going way back I installed turbo to cli - and had no clue how to use cli, plus solaris 8 at the same time. It was a bit of unix overload while still using win2k and still bein extra noobie. Than freebsd 5.6 and Doors, a Knoppix based live CD/ installer distro I initially though was debian. can you say noob? Memories :?
Last edited by llivv on 2019-01-06 12:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-01-06 10:46

Bulkley wrote:Has anyone tried removing/controlling Systemd following the instructions here? How did that turn out?

That guide is a pile of steaming crap, please don't follow it :)

The debian-user mailing lists have a FAQ that includes details on how to run Debian with sysvinit as PID1 (just like MX):

https://wiki.debian.org/FAQsFromDebianU ... _Jessie.3F
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Re: Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby xepan » 2019-01-06 12:15

So you advise us to go back to old-stable jessie, short before stretch will become old-stable?
Wait a second ... jessie, running without systemd. Doesn't sound that hard. Leave as is.
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Re: Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-01-06 12:20

xepan wrote:So you advise us to go back to old-stable jessie, short before stretch will become old-stable?

No, not at all, the guide should still work with stretch (and buster) although I haven't actually tried it.

EDIT: off-topic drivel removed.
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Re: Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby Bulkley » 2019-01-06 16:20

xepan wrote: . . . hackers? playful cleverness, with cheeks. Think of MeanDean.


Now there's a poster I miss. Yes, MeanDean could be rude but he knew his stuff and he did not suffer fools.

Part of what spooks me about Debian is the long list of talented people who drifted away from this forum. Many didn't exactly go away; they moved to places that are more creative friendly. We can find them in places like Bunsen Labs and Refracta and Devuan and MX. The urge to hack doesn't simply fade away when all the problems are "solved."
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Re: Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby Bulkley » 2019-01-06 16:30

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:
Bulkley wrote:That guide is a pile of steaming crap, please don't follow it :)

Thanks for the warning.
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Re: Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby CwF » 2019-01-06 17:24

This seems to be a subject I've missed. I came in at Jessie, as is with systemd, and that was my alternative. In this short time I have seen the notion of corporatism increase and a bias towards handhelds. I find it amazing the scope of an operating system to bridge the easy use handheld with a software store, with the needs of a headless server with many worker vm's. In the middle there is that lonely group on the desktop waiting to be saved by gaming, or something driven by online accounts and subscription models.

When it comes to the pro/con of systemd I'm still missing the issue. It's not stability in my experience, but then I wouldn't know. I have seen the recent issues of systemd >2.35 not liking kernels <4.13 or something. I think I get the idea of not tying unnecessary things into the boot sequence. But I typically try not to assume old ways are best, and more useful for sanity, that new ways are always best. Nothing reinvents the wheel as fervently and frequently as linux people. But it seems as things are reinvented, intrusive dependencies are creeping in. It's starting to appear to me that blindly following the upgrade path might not be best. That is a disappointment.

In my use vm's are for exploring or creating the gui, or for running a settled worker. I came into Linux with the specific goal to use it as a hypervisor. In a way, that insures the OS is lean, simple, and for me fianlly trouble free. Trouble can be contained in a vm. Future happens in a vm. The Past happens in a vm. So for me, my Debian can just freeze. I'll be ok for my last few decades...

Anyway, I still haven't traced an issue to systemd. I did say I skipped whatever prior goodnees existed, so I'm ignorant. But then I still haven't found a good explanation for 'Dazed and Confused", so I know there is knowledge beneath it all going way way back we're all missing!
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Re: Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby llivv » 2019-01-06 19:36

Both guides have issues as far as I can tell. The no2systemd recommends adding udisk2 and or policykit, but both of those draw in systemd libpam-systemd and libnss-systemd
on a minimal stretch system those three are afaict needed to run X
I'm sure there is another way, I just haven't found it yet.

The jessie howto also keeps systemd at a minimum, but it's in now way shape or form free of systemd unless you don't need X.
And essential and required still pull libsystemd0 which gets explained away as doing nothing.
Which is probably true in a certain sense of the description, but libsystemd0 sets up 10 or 20 systemd files in the filesystem.

On another note:
I tried to run modesetting on sid / sysv by purging xserver-xorg-legacy xserver-xorg-video-intel
installing xserver-xorg-video-dummy to satisfy xserver-xorg deps
and failed. Everything worked except I got the infamous drmsetmaster failed permission denied
I could make it work by installing systemd, but I'd rather not...

So I purged the dummy and install legacy and intel - rebooted and now I have only 16 modules loaded. Normally there are 45 to 50 loaded. So it is going to be interesting to see how loading modules manually changes system behavior. Unless I can figure out why the other modules are still not loading properly.
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Re: Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-01-06 20:12

llivv wrote:The jessie howto also keeps systemd at a minimum, but it's in now way shape or form free of systemd unless you don't need X.
And essential and required still pull libsystemd0 which gets explained away as doing nothing.

That's an upstream issue and not under the control of the Debian developers.

The debian-user guide produces a working system with sysvinit as PID1, the nosystemd "guide" produces a broken system that is not fit for purpose.

MX employ the debian-user FAQ method, AFAIK, and they seem to know what they're doing.
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Re: Musing about Debian alternatives

Postby stevepusser » 2019-01-06 20:36

However, antiX goes the completely systemd-free route, relying on eudev and a "nonsystemd" repo for rebuilt packages that remove the dependency. Debian's xorg-core, for example, depends on it, making it hard to get away from it without a rebuild.
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