Devuan debuts version 4.0 – as usual without a hint of the hated systemd

Three init systems offered – natch – plus lots of desktop love, and a warning of some exim oddities


Devuan Linux, the distribution first created by a team of self-described "veteran Unix admins" who opposed Debian's adoption of systemd instead of sysvinit init, has reached version 4.0.

Devuan Chimaera 4.0 is based on Debian 11.1, and version 5.10 of the Linux Kernel. That version of the kernel enjoys long-term support until 2026, and Debian 11.1 will also be tended to until that year. Devuan's devs are clearly thinking long-term!

The new release delivers on Devuan's vision of init freedom by offering users a choice between sysvinit, runit, and OpenRC. The default desktop is Xfce, but Cinnamon, KDE, LXQt, and MATE are available as alternatives. It's possible to add others once the OS is installed.

"Virtually all desktop environments available in Debian are now part of Devuan, systemd-free", states Devuan's release announcement. A glance at Debian's list of supported desktops might lead to a difference of opinion.

One big new inclusion is the chance to install a desktop environment without also installing pulseaudio.

"This enables speech synthesis in both a graphical and console session at the same time," reads the Devuan 4.0 release notes. "This configuration is created by the task-speech-accessibility and devuan-speech-dispatcher-config-override packages which are installed by default when the 'Install with SpeechSynthesis' option (‘s <enter>‘ on BIOS systems, ‘s’ on UEFI systems at the boot prompt) is selected."

The release notes also include a warning that the version of exim used in Devuan 4.0 "introduces the concept of tainted data read from untrusted sources, like e.g. message sender or recipient".

Tainted data – such as $local_part or $domain – cannot be used as names for files, directories or commands.

"This will break configurations which are not updated accordingly," the release notes warn. "Old Debian exim configuration files also will not work unmodified; the new configuration needs to be installed with local modifications merged in."

Devuan runs on the i386, amd64, armel, armhf, arm64 and ppc64el architectures, is yours for the downloading here, and can be installed from scratch, as an upgrade from previous Devuan releases or by migrating from Debian. ®

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