About MX-19 and systemd…

There has been a lot of speculation and questions concerning if the next MX release would finally follow debian and move to systemd.

And of course, we did ask for help with porting systemd-shim over to MX-19’s debian-buster base system.

When we asked that question, a lot of people assumed that we wanted the shim to avoid using systemd. But most MX user’s know that MX has shipped with both systemd and sysVinit for years. The actual reason for requesting help with porting systemd-shim wasn’t to avoid systemd, but to keep it.

Hence the request for help with systemd-shim, which allows for systemd and sysVinit to be installed simultaneously.

And we did have a response. A developer has come forward to port the systemd-shim over to buster-based debian. We are currently doing internal builds with this new systemd-shim in place and the results are promising.

Besides testing internal builds, we are also getting our own buster-compatible repos populated, updating apps, and working on theming, all while still trying to enjoy the Northern Hemisphere’s summer. So we’ve been busy.

And for those wondering, we won’t be releasing MX-19 until sometime after Xfce 4.14 goes final later this summer.

Thanks for your support!


58 thoughts on “About MX-19 and systemd…”

  1. @d-o,
    Thanks for the update.
    The back end of the year promises to be exciting!
    A new MX release, with a new XFCE!
    Well done to all the team for a fantastic distro.


  2. That’s very good news!

    It’s perfectly fine that systemd can still be installed, freedom of choice must rule, but I will personally keep it far from my computer 😉
    Anyway, I’m very excited about the next release, updated packages, XFCE 4.14, great MX tools…
    Thanks a million for your great work.


  3. I am not so sure if that’s really a good idea….What’s sooo “great” about systemd?
    I don’t get it, sorry.

  4. Torsten: systemd-shim enables a number of essential tools to run which depend on systemd. Even though your system initialised with SysV. That’s the problem, in that a lot of tools and apps demand it.

  5. Although MX Linux boots and runs faster with SysV, it works better with SystemD for my setup. So I appreciate having the choice between the two. I can imagine the big effort that is needed to adapt MX to the new Stable Debian release. You guys rock ! Keep up the good work 🙂

  6. I didn’t even know we had a choice! Well there ya go, I learned something new today. I’d sort of assumed that with a Debian-based distro that seems so closely nit, I was stuck with Poettering’s … AGAHA – you had one job, Lennart… ONE.

    But I was wrong. Which is nice.

    (I never felt the need to hate Lennart, personally, but I’d prefer to be SystemD free.)

  7. I come from a Fedora environment, and I do like SystemD for setting up tasks, and doing auto recovery if a tasked object crashes or is accidentally killed.

  8. The reason WHY people are using MXLinux is BECAUSE it is NOT using systemd. Users DO NOT WANT SYSTEMD.
    Why do the devs not understand this?

    • Why don’t you understand that MX Linux has always since the beginning used the shim so that either can be used. Nothing has changed in the last 5 years.

  9. What many people do not understand is that. with MX-Linux we have a choice. you like systemd, well use it, (I use it) dont like it, dont use it, that is YOUR choice. MX-Linux is a great distro, reason WHY is number one at distrowatch, stable, fast and with many own tools, its one I do not have problems adding additional drivers, ex: my nvidia kegacy card, I will stick with MX-Linux, I have been using linux since 1995, red hat 5.1 the then when mandrake came out, ther moved and I switched untill mandrake 8.1, and after that, Debian, pure debian. have a nice day!

  10. @bubba, @jacky, I don’t think you’re reading the post right and your understsanding appears to be off the mark. MX Linux ships with systemd, but by default boots with sysvinit. If you’re using MX, then your machine has systemd installed, but it’s never loaded unless you explicitly choose it at the grub boot screen.
    A simple way to explain our build is, systemd-shim provides a transport layer to systemd libraries so that certain apps that require systemd can operate in a non-systemd environment and the beauty of it all is, systemd is not active at all. It really is that simple.
    Another way to look at it is, it’s like having an unsavory but necessary app installed that you never directly use. The unsavory app has useful libraries that provide not only the ability to operate, but also improved functions in many other popular apps. There is no need to directly use the unsavory app because the other apps which depend on it use only what they need, which is provided through the “shim” we provide called systemd-shim. To sum it all up, having the unsavory systemd installed is not only necessary, but it’s actually a benefit for those who prefer sysvinit, not an encumberance.

  11. systemd as the VUA of Devuan fork fame has explained ad nauseam is basically a huge security vuln. surface of attack, as it replaces many normal unix commands. etc etc. google it and research it yourself. Is it at all possible to use OpenRC or perhaps just Sysvinit without any systemd deb binaries installed at all?

    What kind of advantage does systemd have in the first place?

    Perhaps Slackware, Gentoo, Devuan, Heads, and Antix Linux as well as puppy linux and Porteus linux all avoid systemd and Potterings inane ramblings for a reason.

    perhaps its time to abandon MxLinux for antix.

    Any thoughts gang?!

  12. @m_pav, thanks for the explanation… maybe you should read it again! the choice that we all had in the past is gone, because Debian doesn’t support systemd-shim any longer.
    “next MX release would finally follow debian and move to systemd”

  13. I feel like I am betweeen a rock and a hard place: Windows 10 or systemd.
    Coming from decades of windows and having tested dozens of linux-distro’s I can’t say I feel Linux on the desktop is giving me what I want. I use Linux headless and that is great, but I need a desktop for all the other work.
    So far MX-linux has been my focus, to make a complete switch to Linux. If in the future systemd is inevetable, I guess I should get a new hobby. I have heard making pottery is nice.

  14. @MXLinux/AntiX guys:

    Please bear with me, because I (and other people too) don’t want to watch MXLinux’s demise.
    There’s 3 parts, because WebARX is blocking my post for some reason.

    The very simple reason why MXLinux is getting so popular these day is because people don’t want to deal with poettering/red hat’s half-baked and unstable jokes (and that’s nothing to do about “people don’t want to change”).

    But please do note that the very moment MXLinux will go full systemd, most of your userbase will be gone to another distro (mostly Devuan).

    Now here’s why people hate red hat (gnome/fedora/poettering/pulseaudio/systemd, etc) “products” and such half-baked jokes, thus fleeing them and adopting MX Linux en masse lately:
    – Unfinished thus unstable softwares forced into people who are doing serious business.
    – Users are expected to be the beta testers too so “the more people use it, the more bug reports we’ll get”.
    That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works. That’s why no reasonable being can consider Fedora (and things following such horrible release schemes) suitable for business, they’re even testifying against themselves by making red hat linux a thing.
    – red hat (systemd, wayland, gonme, etc) fans are far more toxic than those they’re mocking. They’re at the same level as the unfriendly elitists Linuxers group, red had “developpers” and people fancying novelty because it’s just new and not much else.
    That so looks like they’re also going politicaly compliant, which is very bad thing in those times of mass surveillance and privacy concerns nowadays.
    – The only “pros” systemd fans are forcing into people’s throat are just very anecdotic gains: minimal “faster” boot times (it’s just no more than 10s on a non-SSD disk, thus irrelevant in those SSD times), the supposedly “easy to use” (going a little deeper than the units and there goes the esoteric mess and bloat).
    And that’s almost it, nothing else more ! Huge problems for very little gains.
    – Not listening to what serious people (not the common Linux user, but also not the “elitists” jerks. I mean the working people outside red hat, etc) think and disregarding the communities views on it. This is not even a red hat only thing, the only very known company to do that is… Microsoft (since Windows 8 and mostly 10 !)
    And this is where you guys (MX Linux and AntiX) are making a huge difference, you guys are listening the power users without letting the “elitists” or the very basic users overcomming you.
    To be honest, you guys remind me the times (exactly 10 years ago !) where people were so fed up with Windows (thanks Vista !) that most of them learned about Linux and ended up choosing Ubuntu. The same thing is happening now with Windows 10 (and Windows 7 being soon end of life) and MX Linux.

    Granted that SysV is getting very old and that the only decent argument against it is that init scripts are a mess (but still far less than the entertwined and almost monolithic systemd thing), but there were far more better alternatives and existing solutions. But no, red hat had to force their own unstable ways into people’s throat when Runit, OpenRC, upstart, epoch, etc are a thing.

    End of part 1/3

  15. Again, the reason why people hate most red hat (gnome/fedora/poettering/pulseaudio/systemd/ “products” is just beacause their “developers” don’t give a damn about stability, and nothing else.
    If they want people using their products more, all they need to do is learn to make stable software instead of expecting users to do their beta-testing.
    That, or they just need to stop being lazy and apply the good practices that non web-developpers are still using nowadays.

    A little bit about the politcal compliance now, softwares are following a very nasty trend since few years now (started around 2013-2014), and the most troubling thing is that they always get the same patterns:
    – Half-baked softwares (rolling releases, which means: fixing bugs outside minor or point releases, permanent beta testing forced into users, etc thanks Google for killing good development practices starting with Chrome, and red hat and Microsoft for following such maddnesses) that aren’t done and that cannot reasonably be considered stable even nearly after 10 years of development.
    – Looks before usefulness (e.g: “mah tearing”, little gains on boot times, extreme “minimalism”/fake “tidiness”, political correctness before usefulness, unpractical “responsive” “design”, etc)
    – Bloated, resource hoarding, messy, esoteric functions and over-complexified “solutions” once you go a little deeper (UEFI, systemd, d-bus, polkit, grub2, wayland, mobile OSes, “IA”, the web which is a now a JavaScript bloat hell that are using far more resources than the lesser evil Flash nowadays, etc), just to fix small inconveniences. Also: more bugs means more holes, how convenient it is for mass surveillance…
    – Developpers not listening to the communinty, marketting (that commands the developpers, which Microsoft and others do) being full of themselves while not knowing how the fields works.
    All them giving the same vague and bland arguments to things that they can’t reasonably justify, which is why people are saying that things are forced into their throats.
    Frankly, it’s almost like some well-placed “Linuxers” are collusioning with some political or corporates (those are collusioning anyway) agenda (remember when Linus Torvalds got approached by agencies ? Wouldn’t be surprising with disto leaders and lenart poettering).
    Please don’t go that way !

    So to make it short: people will stick to MX Linux as long as systemd or other unstable jokes (e.g: Wayland, etc) won’t be forced like the other distros do.
    When that’ll happens, people will very likely move on to Devuan and that will be MX Linux’s demise for sure.

    End of part 2/3

  16. Last but not least: Thank you for the tremendous work and work you’ve made, you guys can’t imagine how much well balanced MX Linux is and how much easier you’ve allowed me to make people switching to Linux after :
    – XFCE is an outstanding piece of software now: it’s blinking fast, gives far more options than any other existing Desktop Environment (except KDE Plasma), is very simple to use (no extreme “minimalism”) and does not hogs CPU and RAM (KDE still in fact uses around 1GB of RAM because of unreclaimable use of cache).
    – MX Snapshot is probably the best tool the Linux world has to offer, a simple NON-console based live-cd builder !
    – MX Software is also good, since Discover and gnome-software are still unstable for installing flatpaks without using console.
    – You guys understood that it’s not ok to do basic stuff only with console nowadays.
    Also huge thanks to steve pusser, he’s doing an awesome work. Without him (and his dediction outside MX Linux forums) and the MX Community repos, I wouldn’t have learn about MX Linux for sure.
    Thanks also for adding Vivaldi in your repositories, that’s a well underrated Browser.

    People love KISS, no wonder why they are sharing the love considering how MX Linux is suddenly getting of the charts for the 6 last month.

    End of part 3/3

  17. Thank you to the MX Devs who make options possible – and sorry you have to put up with folks who like being arrogant in their ignorance.

  18. I read Steve’s post. I would love to stay free from systemd etc.
    Co-operation between more distro’s, like MX already has started, would be helpful to stay free.
    To become ‘brothers-in-arms’ and overcome differences and egos.
    I use Devuan for my servers, that would be a likely candidate, if they are interested.

    And not to forget, I read somewhere that there were some ‘binairy-blobs’ added to the kernel in order to enable systemd to work without errors, or something.

    If we want to keep having a choice, we have to care for these choices and not think that they will be fine, just like that. Currently, it is already like Asterix the Gaul and the Roman Empire, let’s hope it will not go the way of the Dodo.
    And if it happens that we do not have a free choice anymore, then at least keep your mind free 😉

  19. In as much as we try to resist change, change will end up changing us. SystemD is the future and I find it hard to witness people not accepting its flaws and strengths. Major distros have adopted it, and I love it on my MX. Otherwise, am happy it is staying. Hope to see it stay.

    • “””In as much as we try to resist change, change will end up changing us.”””

      That is patently false. Where did you hear such a thing? Srsly…did you just type that out?

  20. +1 to systemd concerns folks expressed above. I would really love to see MX systemd free or at least giving us a choice what init system to use. And yes, if MX will become systemd only I’ll be migrating to different distro.

  21. Why developers of MX linux do not make two branches??? One with systemd and others with sysV and so users can choose for themselves what works best for them. And with the tags MX-19-D meaning systemd and MX-19-V meaning sysV. This can be discussed forever and there will never be a better solution than this. Some would say there is an AntiX for no systemd yes but AntiX is not xfce. But this is just my opinion.

  22. After many years of using Ubuntu, I am now a devotee of MX. I don’t know if it uses systemd or not and I don’t care. Many thanks to the developers and maintainers of wonderful MX. Surely there must be a lot of users like me?

    • Great, ty for voicing your (non) opinion. Maybe you and the other devotees can hang out and not care about other things you admit to know nothing about?

      I kid…I KID! That would be pointless. Of course.

  23. Gizzenbriggs I agree with you. Most importantly, we have this kind of operating system stable and fast.But to solve the dilemma between systemd and systemd free in my opinion build two versions one with systemd and another with systemd free and giving users the opportunity to choose what works best for them.

    • We already have a hybrid of the systemd/non-systemd that seems to work for most use-cases, so why would 2 different versions be necessary? or an improvement on the current system?

  24. I’m so glad that Linux MX is constantly changing and updating
    Thank you very much to the development and support team who are constantly working and developing

    Hopefully, the new version will also be able to install automatically alongside other operating systems, such as Debian Linux

  25. I had to abandon Mint Linux when the systemd potterware was forced on
    users. “Steve” had done and excellent job explaining why so many of us
    will HAVE NO CHOICE but to move to another distro if systemd is forced.
    Systemd is the “microsofting” of Linux and is a very very bad sign,,,,

  26. Well, I already jumped into ‘the future’ adopting OpenBSD, leaving Devuan & MX-18 behind. I started using GNU+Linux around 1994, first Slackware and a couple of years later Debian until the imposed systemd disaster. OpenBSD is secure, KISS and just fabulous…

  27. I’m glad there will still be a choice on using systemd or not. I would not want systemd running on a server – just too many binary blobs needed to access system logs and the like. On the desktop, I don’t care so much, and MX is primarily a desktop distribution. I’m a long time Linux user, starting with it a couple of years after Linus Torvalds announced his original kernel. Worked with BSD (on Vax) and SunOS Unix starting with my Sun II in 1985. Linux without systemd is more like the old Unix experience and underlying philosophy. Red Hat Enterprise Linux has become so dominant on the server end of things, I suppose it was inevitable that other Linux distros fell into that vortex when they produced systemd. That Debian caved a few years back sort of sealed that fate. Keep up the good work, Dolphin and others on the MX team.

  28. SystemD yuck, time to move away from MX. Really bad news.
    Pity, I invested an amazing lot of time as a year ago, it was touted as a systemd free distro.
    Seemingly not the truth at all.

    I will slowly be migrating to Devuan.
    They say and do and want nothing to do with imo horrendous systemd.

    • No one with any ability to read our website and documentation has ever touted MX Linux as systemd-free. You may be thinking of our sister distro antiX, which is.

  29. MX is really nice to use, but THE reason that I switched from SuSE after almost 25 years was to get rid of systemD. Without SysV init, MX is just another Debian forge like any other. Being user friendly AND systemD-free is a unique selling feature.

  30. Seems like most people read the post wrong. What MS people are saying is they’re porting systemd-shim to Buster based Debian with the help of another dev. That doesn’t mean they are going full systemd it means they’re trying to make the new Debian work with shim. And MS always had both systemd and SysVinit. By default MS boots in to SysVinit not Systemd if want systemd then we have make the system boot in to a systemd session.

    What MX is trying to do is enable systemd-shim in Buster and then use that in 19 to allow apps which depend on systemd to use the required libraries with out fully loading a systemd session.

  31. Choice goes farther than systemd vs sysvinit. LXC containers with alternate distributions provide choice (and support of enterprise work on CentOS). ZFS allows for choice of filesystems on detachable storage. These must work or the goal providing the end user with choice is lost, in my opinion. I hope systemd-shim can be fixed. Please test it with LXC (lxc-net, etc.). I was very happy with MX Linux for a time and I hope I can return to it and pick up where I left off.

  32. The moment MXL or any other Distro chose the evil SystemD I am out as a user and will look for an alternative.UNIX’s philosophy is one tool per use case but SystemD is like 10-15 tools packed into one.
    Add to that I am not big fan of this Lennart Poettering guy.

  33. hmm.. I dont get the controversy. I have booted MX-linux with systemd and with sysinit. There is no noticeable difference when using the computer. Everything works perfectly whether I use systemd or not.

  34. OUr house was on Mx for about 6 months. then systd updates cooked our drives. moved to devaun, the update from few days ago brought in systemd stuff removed a bunch of stuff liked that worked well. I dont know. I have been in the linux game for over 15 years since abandoning vista going to mint then to sparky when gnome 2 was deprecated. as long as debian is upstream and calling the shots I dont think we will get away from it. I built a freebsd box this summer, learned the basics, think its time to leave linux entirely. I can live without a few things to have the basics work well. just seems like systmd is a hole in the boat and no matter how many buckets of water are scooped out the boat still seems like it is still sinking. Anyway, take care all.

  35. Init boots about four times slower then systemd for me. So although I love mx, I require systemd. period. So glad you still allow for both. It is amazing and I hope it continues.

  36. Sorry to spam here but I don’t know how to interpret the relevance of this post or any of the comments without seeing the dates. I went as far as checking archive.org to see when this was posted. Also no accurate last-modified in http response.

    Please please update your blog template to include dates. I do see that there is metadata in the first comment reply that says February 7, 2020 at 2:39 AM.

    So if not intentional, this is negligence. If it is intentional, then you’re still negligent because you haven’t truly removed the dates.

  37. Hello folks, I too dislike much systemd security hole,
    and exactly that was a reason for me to migrate from Mint.
    I like MX Linux much, and am using it as a main desktop os on all my PCs.
    I am still learning.

    I see there is hidden pressure to disrupt simpicity, ease-of-supervision of code,
    for making linux more vulnerable.
    The attitude with which is systemd built and enforced, (impudently violating good rules of linux and unix design) is proof of that.

    People should take care also of a direction of software they are using, not only usability, otherwise later they may end up in a very bad situation.
    Better not to be lazy now and find and adapt a replacement. While it is not too late.
    I am sure that if many of us will show our attitude by deeds, that will show developers where to focus.

    Did I understand correctly, that MX Linux line 19 is the last line without enforced SystemD and the next iteration of MX Linux (based on newer debian base) will have systemd permanently enforced?
    (Making of systemd-shim work with the latest base required extra work. It might not not be possible with the future versions?)

    Take care,
    Andy S.

      • Thank you Dolphin Oracle for quick answer, that’s very good to hear.
        Keep up the good work.

        I was starting to look for an emergency replacement in worst scenario,
        but I do not know where to look if I wanted both the ease of use and a good hardware support.
        It seems to me currently there is no option if I insist on best security practices and also want the other two criterions to be fulfilled.
        FreeBSD or OpenBSD are praised for the security and simplicity, but…
        I saw there was a move of Project Trident from BSD world to linux, so my attention was focused to VoidLinux,
        but at the moment MX linux is excellent to me.
        Where can I find a good quality of info about SysVinit mechanisms and adminitration in MX linux? I was searching in MX linux forums, looking into the mx linux guide, but found nothing relevant.
        Is this the best source?

        Thank you
        Andy S.


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