Without systemd


For users that may desire a system without any systemd dependencies, this document aims to explain how it can be done, and possible caveats of using Exherbo in the post-systemd-adoption world.

sys-apps/systemd will remain the default init system for the forseeable future, because it is the one most users would expect nowadays, and is probably the most battle tested, in terms of adoption in Linux distributons. With that said, it is certainly replaceable and can be done fairly easily on Exherbo.


For glibc targets, the [systemd] option is enabled by default, and as such will need to be disabled to remove any library-related dependencies on systemd.

In addition, you should disable any systemd [providers:*] options.

*/* providers: -systemd
*/* -systemd

On non-glibc targets, this isn’t applicable and no option changes are needed.

Since a udev implementation is required by a few system packages (and really most packages that deal with hardware), you’ll have to use an alternative implementation of udev; currently the only alternative is sys-apps/eudev.

Since systemd also provides some other services, such as logind, journald, etc. you will need to find alternatives.

sys-auth/ConsoleKit2 works fine for a logind replacement, and you can use any one of the virtual/syslog providers for replacing journald.

*/* providers: -systemd eudev rsyslog
*/* -systemd consolekit

Lastly, and probably most importantly, you’ll need to find a new init daemon and service manager.

Replacing init

Full-featured replacements

These are programs which provide an init daemon (PID 1), and a service manager.

Init daemons

Service managers

There’s countless more implementations available, but they’re probably not packaged. That’s a hint to you to package them if you want to use them. :)

Possible issues

GNOME is rather closely connected with systemd, so it may be best to seek alternatives, such as Xfce or KDE.

Copyright 2015 Kylie McClain