So we could use a little help with systemd-shim…

One of the unique features of MX has been the ability for the user to choose between systemd and sysVinit on installed systems. The magic sauce that made that work is a package called systemd-shim. However, development on systemd-shim stopped some time ago, and Debian recently dropped the package from the Buster repositories.

Our understanding is that the current state of systemd-shim does not work correctly with the version of systemd in Debian Buster, so we are exploring options for the future of MX.

To that end, one thing we want to explore is the possibility of continuing development of systemd-shim (and whatever systemd patches may be necessary for the systemd-shim to work properly). We have placed a BountySource job here:

So if you can help out with this project, please check out BountySource (FAQs) and let us know.

More later:


16 thoughts on “So we could use a little help with systemd-shim…”

  1. Why not join forces with Devuan and move the base. Imho you are not aiming at exactly the same user groups so strengteening both distros seems a very positive idea.

  2. While that is a noble and heroic goal, I think it is ultimately futile since it is a constant game of catch-the-mouse. A similar thing happens in Gentoo with the patchset to make GNOME3 work freed from systemd – also a heroic effort but ultimately it is like Don Quichotte fighting windmills, erm, dragons.

    The current debian developers made it clear that debian is only for those who use systemd. I am not sure why (possibly direct payment from IBM Red Hat) but that’s the way it is.

    I am not sure if devuan will have the same use case since they focus on systemd-freedom. Another avenue may be to look at what LFS/BLFS is doing since they support both systemd-free and systemd-tainted variants (

  3. Systemd, like grub2, like UEFI boot, will eventually take over. I’m not applauding that, but I think it’ll happen.

    I admire your efforts, and I agree that we shouldn’t be forced into complex and no-longer-easily-understandable replacements for simpler software – but it looks like the eventual alternative will be to develop a systemd-shim that’s so overly complex that it, too, will defeat your intent.

    I found MX today because I’ve got a new computer which insists on a UEFI boot, so I can’t move OS installations around and put them multiple places using the old methods I’ve used for years. Your tools are faster and easier than my old manual methods, I’m very impressed with them! So far I’ve created and used your persistent live USB drive, created an ISO from a running live session, used that to create another live drive, installed the tailored MX to a laptop and I’m a happy man. Thank you so much!

  4. I also Think Sysemd will eventuelly take over, but at the Moment the only thing that matters is USER satisfaction, even at the cost of Developers nervs.
    MXLinux is very much used in Germany.
    Good luck and best wishes.

  5. I don’t see big enough reasons to keep jumping through hoops to avoid systemd. It may be time to just go with it.

  6. Systemd has already won, but that’s not the point.
    The point is diversity which offers choice to users.
    If all distributions give up, there will be only one linux based system for both desktop and server: Linux/Systemd… and the unix philosophy will be dead for linux systems.
    There’s plenty of distros based on debian or ubuntu, a very few have the same quality and polish as MX, and none offers an alternative to systemd.
    As @herold said, you can rebase on devuan and collaborate with them, they welcome derivative.

  7. As developers what is your targeted end user for MXLinux. If it is to provide a wide use to all user, technical and non-technical users of the world. I would think then it is time to embrace systemd, this would provide easier support/comparability going forward for issue.

    If it is technical crowd with providing freedom then yes continue to push the shim. Though there is a risk this pushes away users if this is not clean.

  8. Surrendering to the systemd herd degrades Linux security, reliability, and user confidence.. so moving in that direction is surely not the way to go. Maintaining a simple init system is essential and should have priority over maximizing the number of packages that will run on the system. Can an excellent graphical workstation and server still be built without Gnome and other systemd dependent software? Yes and definitely yes. If the systemd herd wants to run themselves over the edge of a cliff that is their choice. Many do not want to be part of that and in my opinion would happily trade Gnome and other systemd dependent software for more security, reliability, predictability, simplicity in their systems.

  9. My system boots on the 4.9 kernel with systemd. I’m sure there’s a thousand reasons why someone would go with MX Linux. Personally I use it for the ease of installation, the unparalleled MX tools, the great hardware compatibility, the Debian base and the 32-bit support. Shim or not, MX Linux has plenty to offer.

  10. So long us we can still upgrade the debian way to buster, I don’t really mind, or atleast install systemd in future with ease.

  11. “I don’t see big enough reasons to keep jumping through hoops to avoid systemd. It may be time to just go with it.”

    Losing my privacy and freedom are big enough reasons for me to avoid systemd
    (Sytemd = Linux cancer)

    “Systemd has already won”

    I personally think that a lot of Linux users are “too naive” and don’t see the potential dangers of systemd. for them “systemd” has indeed already won.
    I don’t belong to that group, and I will never surrender to systemd, period.

    I like the idea of joining the Devuan community, both communities can need some extra hands
    and, go for it!

  12. how about and the “runit” init system. is that an option ?

    I’m not a developer, but on the lookout for a functional Linux Desktop, without systemd.

  13. I was so happy with MX Linux 18 and hopeful for 19, but I need to do some work that require LXC for alternate distributions. It would seem that I must put MX Linux away for a time… Thank you and I hope choice (systemd/SysVinit) will work soon.

  14. This is all Bullshit! Programs, I use “EXPECT systemd”, So what’s the bloody problem? I f you “HATE systemd, so much”, go back to Windows 11, it’s all you deserve!


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