Void Linux: A Systemd-Free Lightning Fast Linux Distribution

Void Linux is a distro built from scratch. Like Arch Linux, it is suitable for advanced users who want to configure their OS as they see fit.

Void Linux is s a Linux distribution built from scratch, which means that it is not based on any of the principal distros we know. However, like Gentoo or Arch Linux, it is a distro suitable for advanced users.

Void is an independently developed, rolling-release, general-purpose operating system. It is available for many architectures like x86, x86_64, arm, and more.

Moreover, the distro also offers different installation images, from network / CLI install to live images with 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.

Above all, one particular feature that sets Void apart from other distributions is its speed and responsiveness. It’s faster than anything else.

Indeed, everything from the boot process to starting applications is lightning quick. On top of that, Void Linux is also rock solid and unusually light on system resources.

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

Void Linux offers its users clear documentation in the form of a Wiki, which, although not extensive, 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 most Linux distributions because it uses runit as its init system instead of the more common systemd used by other distributions. This is a unique feature of Void that makes it more BSD-like in its init system and design philosophy.

Runit is a minimalist and extremely fast init system that is easy to configure and more in line with the old daemon tools that Linux distros used to use by default. You’ll be delighted with the performance and simplicity compared to other service managers.

Deploying a daemon in runit is 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. So all you do is make the symlink.

Void Linux Installation

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

Void Linux installation

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 needing 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, Void can be turned into whatever you wish to assemble after the base install. Here’s our excellent step-by-step tutorial, which will guide you through all the steps of the installation: How to Install Void Linux: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Software Management

Indeed one of the significant unique features 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.

Related: How to Use XBPS Package Manager on Void Linux

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 it splits its capability among different commands, unlike Arch.

  • 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 by strictly installing and removing commands via command line typing.

Void Linux is arguably the most BSD-like of all Linux distributions. One feature that characterizes the BSDs is a ports tree that allows a wide variety of software built from the 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 sources are both available and fully supported.


Managing services on Void Linux is pretty straightforward. Void uses the runit supervision suite to run system services and daemons.

All service scripts currently running are just files that can be seen in the /var/service/ directory, and those can easily be added, modified, or removed from /etc/sv/.

To enable a service on a booted system, you need to create a symlink to the service directory in /var/service.


There will always be distros that follow the crowd, and others will try to make their 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 rock-solid.

And yes, Void Linux is not for newcomers to Linux because it doesn’t hold your hand. But it is highly customizable and minimalist. Some would probably say too minimalistic.

It is unique in being a truly UNIX-like distro from bottom to top with runit and the XBPS package manager. Void Linux is a fantastic option for those who love the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) philosophy.

Without a doubt, Void Linux is a bit out of the ordinary. But if you use Void, say so proudly.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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