Good morning reader. It is Easter Friday, 2018. Great timing for writing a blog article in the mountains of Switzerland, next to the fire.

TL;DR

Read the whole thing.

Introduction

I hope I got your attention and you have a warm gut feeling already. If you are like me, using Linux (or "unix alike" for that matter) for about 20 years, you have seen a lot of changes.

Some of the changes I observe include:

  • Linux getting attention from a much broader audience (developers, users, corporates)
  • Operating system choices have become less important ("people care about higher level stuff")
  • The Free and Open Source movement has lost its traction
  • Linux (stacks) ha(s|ve) become much more complex

In this article, I want to point you, old greybeard, to some hope at the end of the tunnel: Devuan.

Devuan

So let's start with a self centric, barefaced advertisement so that you don't claim I wrote this article to subconsciously lead you to Devuanhosting.com: Go to Devuanhosting.com and get yourself a Devuan VM, if you like Devuan.

Now, back to the real topic of the post: You might see Devuan as a "Debian of the retarted people who don't accept the existence of systemd". Fair enough.

However, you should look a bit more closer, even if your opinion is the former. Devuan creates a choice. It gives you the choice to run Linux without systemd.

Just for the sake of the argument before, ("people care about high level stuff"), it is actually important that this is about an init system at the core of your computer. Yes, it is low level. Yes, most people don't care and most people probably shouldn't care, because they don't even understand why there is an init system, nor why it can be programmed very simple (i.e. compare with cinit).

What is important here is that a group of volunteers spending their free time and resources commits themselves to fight for the right to have a Linux without systemd.

"Why is that important", you might ask. And the answer is very similar: without these people, we would all still be using a DOS based operating system with a broken GUI on top of it.

Yes, exactly. If there weren't such volunteers (or even "lateral thinkers") before, there would not be GNU/Linux distribution for you at all.

The light on the horizon

So why is there a light? Today I migrated my notebook from Arch Linux to Devuan, because systemd crashes my system on suspend.

First of all, I do have the choice to change, because of the great work of the Devuan community. But what really opened my eyes, were a few things that I had to "manually configure":

Compared to Arch Linux, I needed to install acpid and pm-utils to handle suspending. Furthermore I needed to configure acpid to suspend on lid close as follows:

root@line:/home/nico/Downloads# cat /etc/acpi/events/suspend
event=button/lid LID close
action=/usr/sbin/pm-suspend

Yes, exactly. It takes 3 commands to install this property of your system. It is a very clean separation of concerns, and debugging this setup is as easy as starting acpid in the foreground and showing the events.

While this, as well as the logical naming of devices (eth0, wlan0), is just a minor thing, I see that something changed:

There are again people, who fight for their right to do things "the right way".

Call to action

If you agree to what I wrote above and you also see the light on the horizon, I would like to ask you to be active:

It is not necessary to start developing code to support the Free and Open Source Software movement, to support freedom.

For us, it is necessary to be seen and move forward as a community, may it be Linux, BSD or FOSS in general.

So instead of staying abstract like this, I ask you to do 2 things:

  • Spread the word about this article on IRC, Twitter, or social medium of your choice

  • Get yourself a good drink of your choice, sit down and say out aloud: I am supporting freedom of choice and will fight for it.

Thanks for reading, enjoy your time!