Re: A dumb question

From: Steve Litt <>
Date: Tue, 2 May 2017 02:34:44 -0400

On Mon, 01 May 2017 23:11:25 +0200
Francisco Gómez <> wrote:

> Hello there, nice to meet you! If you don't mind, I'll be quite too
> straight and tell you what I'm coming for.
> So, a few days ago, I switched to Void Linux. This not only meant that
> my hipster non-mainstream levels had increased over 9000, but that I
> had switched from Systemd to Runit as well. At first, I found it
> amazing that the system and the GNOME desktop could do so much and so
> easily without relying on a heavy init overlord.

I also am surprised you could get Gnome to work without systemd. Just
for fun, try out LXDE, and install dmenu and have it at the ready with
an easy hotkey. I think you'll love the productivity enhancement, once
you get used to it.

> I shared my joy to my
> fellow colleagues. And during the process, someone recently told me
> something like this.
>     "It's old software. Its last version is from 2014. If I have to
>     choose between a dynamic, bug-filled init like Systemd and a
> barely maintained init like Runit, I'd rather use Systemd."

You'll meet plenty of people like that. He almost certainly hasn't
tried Runit. If "barely maintained" is why he recommends systemd, he's
just flapping his gums.

Or, maybe, he's a systemd sycophant and you backed him into a corner
where he couldn't enthuse about systemd because it's better than
sysvinit, as if those were the only two choices.

> That sounds bad, doesn't it?

I've heard a lot worse.

> I hence ask: why is it that Runit has no new versions, neither a VCS
> repository or bug tracker? Has Runit been so well tested and hardened,
> is it such a simple codebase?

Pre-cisely! As of 2014, it did everything it was supposed to do, and
did it according to specification. The niche it fills is as the simple
init, so there's no reason to add features.

> Or are there not enough interested,
> capable people maintaining the project?

Last time I looked, there's one guy maintaining it. That one guy wrote
it, and every once in a while he fixes a bug or whatever. But here's
the thing: He isn't riding his software to fame and glory, so he feels
no need to cram more and more features into it: And that's the way I
like it.

Runit's so simple I could maintain it that if Gerrit Pape dropped dead
tomorrow, I could pick it up and maintain it. That's the benefit of
having software developed by one guy.

But wait, there's more. Let's say Gerrit Pape and I are on the same
airplane and it crashes in the Andes mountains. No problem, there's
another init system called s6 that's extremely similar to Runit, and
you could switch between the two without breaking a sweat.

> Sorry for asking this, but I'm really curious and interested on using
> Runit, and questions need answers. Even if those questions are really
> questionable on themselves. Cheers~

Yes. Guys like your friend somehow manage to sound soooo convincing,
even though they give you almost no facts. Runit's an excellent choice,
whether your distro shipped with it or not.

Meanwhile, Void Linux has been the most trustworthy distro I've ever
used. It's a rolling release that almost never has bugs, and you don't
get into jams the way Arch people do. And any time you need help, you
can go to #voidlinux on FreeNode and talk to lots of experts.

Void's the best: Don't lose your enthusiasm.


Steve Litt
May 2017 featured book: Twenty Eight Tales of Troubleshooting
Received on Tue May 02 2017 - 06:34:44 UTC

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