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toward making an informed choice, consider the available alternatives

  • Arguments against systemd - a wiki sub-page containing discussion+links arranged under topical subsections:
    • Breaking promises, immaturity, and (in)stability
    • Scope creep
    • Absurd bugs and responses
    • Conceptional problems
    • Scope creep leads to vulnerabilities
    • Poor design
    • Ignorance of fundamental operating system concepts

further reading (external links)

open-source operating systems without systemd in the default installation

Linux distributions

GNU & Linux --> GNU/Linux   "A distribution, as a whole, is greater than the sum of its parts."


  • Slackware i586, s390, x86_64, arm
    • Absolute Linux (based on Slackware64-current) IceWM+ROX; supported architectures: i686, x86_64
    • AUSTRUMI (based on Slackware) bootable live CD, to be run from RAM, iso images
    • ConnochaetOS (based on Slackware+Salix) removes upstream proprietary software and binary blobs, ships free (libre) software only. IceWM; supported architectures: i486, i686
    • Liveslak aka Slackware Live Edition
    • Plamo Linux (based on Slackware) japanese-language distro; i486, x86_64
    • Porteus (Slackware based lightweight modular live CD/USB) i486, x86_64
    • Salix (based on Slackware) i486, i686, x86_64
    • SARPi (2) Slackware ARM on Raspberry Pi
    • Slackel (based on Slackware+salix) i486, i686, x86_64
    • SlaXBMC (2) (based on SlackwareARM 14.2); x86, x86_64, arm
    • Slint (2) (3) based on Slackware + Salix
    • Superb Mini Server (2) (based on Slackware) fluxbox WM; i486, x86_64
    • Vector Linux (based on Slackware) i486, x86_64
    • wifislax 2 (based on Slackware) i486
    • Zenwalk (2) (based on Slackware) suported architectures: i486, i686, x86_64



  • Devuan i686, x86_64 and various ARM targets (see /embedded downloads)
    • CROWZ (based on Devuan 1.0.2) Fluxbox, Openbox, JWM
    • Dynebolic (based on Devuan) an FSF-approved distribution geared toward users engaged in multimedia production
    • Exe GNU/Linux i686, x86_64 (based on Devuan) Trinity DE
    • Good Life Linux (based on Devuan)
    • GNUinos (based on Devuan) a Libre distribution; Supported architectures: i686, x86_64
    • heads (based on Devuan) a Libre distribution, intended as a systemd-free alternative to Tails Linux
    • Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre OpenRC (2) "LTS Arch snapshot versions + security/stability patches ported from debian"; i686, x86_64
    • MiyoLinux (based on Devuan) Openbox or i3 window manager
    • Nelum-Dev1 (based on Devuan) Openbox, XFCE, or MATE desktop
    • Refracta (2) (3) (based on Devuan) i386, x86_64; Nov2017: (Refracta Devuan 2) Openbox, eudev, OpenRC
    • Star Linux (based on Devuan) ships Xfce, Fluxbox, Openbox, Jwm, i3
    • Vuu-Do Linux (based on Devuan) Openbox or MATE desktop

Debian based

  • antiX Linux (2) (based on Debian 9 "Stretch") sysV init; flexible remastering and persistence tools. Multiple WMs: JWM+iceWM+fluxbox; i486, x86_64
  • Free of Boxes A live image distribution based on Debian 9 Xfce without systemd (currently in beta).
  • KNOPPIX (video: "Defying systemd") debian-based, employs systemd-shim; sysV init
  • LMDE 2 (Linux Mint Debian Edition) sysV init; based on Debian 8(Jessie); Cinnamon or MATE desktop; i386, x86_64
  • MX Linux (based on Debian stretch 9.3) XFCE desktop; includes antiX remastering n persistence tools; supported architectures: i386, x86_64
  • PostX (based on Debian 8 "Jessie") OpenRC; openbox wm
  • TRIOS Mia OpenRC/ZFS forum (rolling release, based on Debian Jessie) XFCE, rEFInd, OpenRC init
  • Window Maker Live (based on Debian 8 "Jessie") sysV init; both windowmaker + xfce are preinstalled; i386, x86_64


  • 4MLinux (BusyBox init) JWM window manager; supported architecture: i386, i686
  • aldOS (2) upstart init, eudev, ConsoleKit2; MATE desktop
  • Bedrock Linux (BusyBox / any) Bedrock Linux can utilize any of a large number of init systems as provided by other distributions
  • Cromnix GNU/Linux (2)(3) (based on Linux From Scratch) OpenRC(default installed); LFS boot scripts with sysVinit, s6, and runit
  • Crux arm, x86_64 (2) mailinglist x86_64; BSD-style initscripts, tar.gz-based package system + ports
  • CruxEX (2) x86_64 (LiveCD produced by Arne Exton, based on Crux) kernel 4.12.10; LXDE
  • Cucumber Linux (2) sysV init; Linux Kernel version 4.9 LTS, GNU Userspace utilities, XFCE desktop; i686, x86_64
  • Dragora GNU/Linux Libre (2) Runit init; desktops: IceWM, spectrwm, Xfce; i585, x86_64
  • Elive Linux (aka Enlightenment live CD) Enlightenment WM; i486
  • Fatdog64 Linux (2) (3) x86_64; also FatDogArm for Raspberry Pi2 and Odroid-XU3/XU4
  • GoboLinux sysv init + BootScripts
  • Guix System Distribution (GuixSD) i686, x86_64
  • IPFire (derived from IPCop) firewall distribution for x86 and ARM-based systems; armv5tel, i586, x86_64
  • KaNaPi (2), (3), (4) educational+game apps; xfce and sugar desktops. i686, x86_64, armhf
  • Kwort Linux (2) (based on CRUX) Uses BSD-style initscripts; x86_64
  • Legacy OS (2) (previous name: TEENpup) Pentium 3 and 4
  • Linux Console MATE or LXDE desktop, 32bit and 64bit versions, tailored to gaming / educational use
  • Linux from Scratch i386, x86_64; also CLFS (aka Cross LFS) supports additional architectures: mips, powerpc, ppc64, alpha, sparc, hppa, arm
  • Milis Linux (based on Linux From Scratch) Milis İşletim Sistemi
  • Moebius Linux armhf changelog minimal (no X) distro currently focused on RaspberryPi v3
  • NuTyX (based on Linux From Scratch)
  • OviOS Linux (Independent) previously used systemd; was rebuilt around Sysvinit because systemd proved unsuitable for a stable storage system.
  • Parted Magic liveboot distribution providing disk partitioning and data recovery tools. Openbox WM; i486, i686, x86_64 FOSS? (licensed GPL)
  • PCLinuxOS (2) (3) (4) x86_64
  • PicarOS "suitable for kids from 3 to 12 and teachers"  ; XFWM; desktop environment: LXDE; i486, i686
  • Pisi Linux (sysvinit + python init scripts) x86_64
  • Plop Linux (PXE/liveboot) designed to rescue data from a damaged system, or to backup and repair operating systems; supports: armv6l, i486, x86_64
  • Puppy Linux (2) Puppy Linux's position on systemd i386, x86_64
  • Quirky (2) 93) supports armhf, i386, x86_64
  • RancherOS a minimalist Linux distribution designed to host Docker containers. Supported architecture: x86_64
  • Simplicity Linux (based on Puppy Linux) LXDE desktop; SysVinit. Supported architectures: i386
  • SliTaz (Lightweight live CD/USB using BusyBox + SysVinit) supported architectures: armel, i386, x86_64
  • Source Mage GNU/Linux (source-based distribution) i386, i486, i586, i686, x86_64
  • TAZ (2) (based on slitaz) runs entirely from RAM; openbox desktop
  • Tiny Core Linux, (2) FLTK/FLWM desktop. i486, x86_64 (also "piCore" edition, for Raspberry Pi)
  • TLD Linux i686, x86_64
  • ToOpPy Linux (2) (based on PuppyLinux) liveboot, operates completely in RAM; JWM desktop
  • Univention Corporate Server v4.2 (Sept 2017) GRUB menu offers choice of systemd or sysvinit
  • Uplos32 (based on PCLinuxOS)
  • Void Linux (runit, xbps) supported architectures: armv6, armv7, i686, x86_64. supported libcs: glibc, musl.


distributions available without standard GNU tools

  • Alpine Linux (musl libc, BusyBox + OpenRC) supported architectures: i386, x86_64, armhf
  • Easy Linux (2)
  • JanusLinux BusyBox init, musl libc; supported architectures: x86_64
  • Minimal Linux Live (2) Linux kernel, GNU C library, and BusyBox init; i386, x86_64
  • NanoLinux (2) BusyBox init; SLWM window manager.Requires only 14 MB of disk space
  • Sabotage Linux (musl libc + BusyBox init) i386, x86_64, MIPS, PowerPC32, ARM(v4t+)
  • (musl libc) x86_64, armhf
  • Void Linux (runit, xbps) supported architectures: armv6, armv7, i686, x86_64. supported libcs: glibc, musl.
  • XBian (based on debian) media center distribution for the Raspberry Pi, CuBox-i, and other arm devices (init: Upstart)


Android derivatives




Illumos (formerly OpenSolaris)


Plan 9



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