The Devuan community has announced the release of Devuan 4.0 with code name Chimaera, which strives to make GNU/Linux free of systemd.
Devuan came into existence in 2014 as a result of Debian shifting to systemd after a long technical and much publicized debate. The move led to several Debian developers coming together to create Devuan by removing all traces of systemd from the Linux distro, instead sticking to the well-known init system, sysvinit.
The name Devuan was chosen as a blend word, formed from parts of two others – “Debian” and “VUA“. And if you’re curious what “VUA” means, it’s the shortened form of Veteran Unix Admins.
Devuan aims to be a base GNU/Linux distribution to protect Init Freedom and grant backward compatibility for existing sysvinit users on Debian.
Now you are probably wondering, what’s wrong with systemd? It’s a long story and the objections are both technical and political. A discussion for another day. So let’s now focus on the new Devuan 4.0 release.
What’s New in Devuan 4.0
The first thing you’ll notice about Devuan is how quickly it booted, because usage of sysvinit, which is the init system of choice of Devuan. Of course, during installation you may also prefer to use some other init system such as openrc or runit.
One of the things it inherits from Debian is support for a wide range of hardware architectures. Devuan is one of the few distros that still continues to put out installation media for 32-bit x86 systems, in addition to the popular 64-bit platform. Furthermore, Devuan also supports the arm64, armel, armhf, and ppc64el architectures.
Devuan is an Xfce distro by default. However, it provides MATE, Cinnamon, KDE, and LXQt in its repos. Virtually all desktop environments available in Debian are now part of Devuan 4.0. The latest version of the distro comes with KDE Plasma 5.20, Cinnamon 4.8, MATE 1.24, and Xfce 4.16 desktop environments available in the distro repos.
Installation via GUI or console can now be accomplished via software or hardware speech synthesis, or using a refreshable braille display, and Devuan Chimaera has the ability to install desktop environments without PulseAudio, allowing speech synthesis in both console and GUI sessions at the same time.
Futhermore, Devuan 4.0 comes with new boot, display manager and desktop theming. And in conclusion, if you are curious, the next Devuan 5.0 release will be codenamed ‘Daedalus’.
There are two mechanisms for installing Devuan. One, via the Live CD, which uses the Refracta Installer, and the other via the install-only media, which uses a modified Debian installer.