Void: A Systemd-Free Lightning Fast Linux Distribution

Void Linux

Void Linux is s a Linux distribution built from scratch, which means that it is not based on any of the principal distros that we know. Like Arch Linux it is a distro suitable for advanced users who want to configure their OS as they see fit.

Void is an independently developed, rolling-release, general-purpose operating system. It is available for a lot of architectures like x86, x86_64, arm, and more. Void also offers different installation images, from network / CLI install to live images with different flavors like Xfce, Cinnamon, Enlightenment, Mate, LXDE and LXQT.

Void Linux is developed entirely by volunteers cooperating on GitHub. It was created in 2008 by Juan Romero Pardines, a former developer of NetBSD.

There is one particular feature that sets Void apart from other distributions and that is its speed and responsiveness. It’s faster than anything else. Certainly everything from the boot process to starting applications is lightening quick. Void is also rock solid and unusually light on system resources.

Regarding the multimedia support, however, you’ll need to activate the non-free repository as Void consists only of free software.

Void Linux offers its user’s with clear documentation in the form of a Wiki, which although not extensive by any means, is just enough to help users get started successfully. However, we strongly recommend checking out the documentation available on the Void wiki as it will set you up with a working system in no time.

Void Linux GNOME 3.38 Desktop

Void Linux is a systemd-free distro

Void is a notable exception to the majority of Linux distributions because it uses runit as its init system instead of the more common systemd used by other distributions. This is a unique features of Void, that make it more BSD-like, are its init system and design philosophy.

Runit is a very minimalist and extremely fast init system that is easy to configure and more in line with the old daemontools that Linux distros used to use by default. You’ll be very pleased with the performance and simplicity it brings compared to another service managers. Deploying a daemon in runit is really simple. Make a directory, write a short run script, make a symbolic link, and bang, your daemon’s deployed. Better yet, most Void packages include the directory and run script. All you do is just to make the symlink.

Void Linux installation

Void uses a simple and straight forward text based installer to guide you trough the traditional installation steps. It is the same in all of the available images, and we call it with the “void-installer” command.

A notable feature of the live ISOs is that users can choose to install the system from packages included on the ISO or from a network source, avoiding the need to perform an upgrade after installation. Once you’ve done with all the misc configurations, the installer will write the changes to the disk. After that, you will be asked to reboot the system, or you can continue testing from the live session.

Comparable to Arch or Gentoo, after the base install, Void can be turned into whatever you wish to assemble. The Void’s website offers an excellent step by step tutorial, which will guide you through all the steps of the installation.

Software management

Indeed one of the significant unique feature in Void is its package management system. XBPS (X Binary Package System) is the native system package manager written from scratch. Its goal is to be fast, easy to use, bug-free, featureful and portable. XBPS allows you to quickly install/update/remove software in your system and features detection of incompatible shared libraries and dependencies while updating or removing packages. On top of that, XBPS is extremely fast. It is very similar to Arch’s pacman, but unlike Arch, it splits its capability among different commands.

  • xbps-install for updates and installations
  • xbps-remove for uninstalling
  • xbps-query for querying the repositories and the installed system
  • xbps-alternatives for listing and setting alternatives for packages
  • xbps-src for building packages distributed by third parties as source archives

For sure users with a love of Arch-based systems or a strong background in Unix and Linux will feel instantly right at home with installing and removing commands strictly via command line typing.

Void Linux is arguably the most BSD-like of all Linux distributions. One feature that characterizes the BSDs is the presence of a ports tree, that allows a wide variety of software to be built from source. A port is simply a folder containing the makefile and source code necessary to build the package. Another thing common to the BSDs is dual package management, in that binaries and source are both available and fully supported.

Conclusion

There will always be distros that follow the crowd and there are others that try to make their own path. Void Linux has been built from the ground up for the person who wants to boss his computer around, without encountering a lot of stumbling blocks. It is a rock solid. Void is unique in being a truly UNIX-like distro from bottom to top with Runit and XBPS. It is an awesome option for those who loves KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) philosophy. Without doubts, Void Linux is a bit out of the ordinary. But if you use Void, say so proudly.

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