|OS family||Linux (Unix-like)|
|Source model||Open source|
|Latest release||Rolling release / installation medium 17 October 2022|
|Marketing target||General purpose|
|Kernel type||Monolithic (Linux)|
|Userland||GNU + Glibc or GNU + Musl|
|Command-line interface (Bourne shell as the default shell), Xfce|
|License||Various licenses; Void-made software is mostly licensed under BSD 2-clause|
Void Linux is an independent Linux distribution that uses the X Binary Package System (XBPS) package manager, which was designed and implemented from scratch, and the runit init system. Excluding binary kernel blobs, a base install is composed entirely of free software (but users can access an official non-free repository to install proprietary software as well).
Void Linux was created in 2008 by Juan Romero Pardines, a former developer of NetBSD, to have a test-bed for the XBPS package manager. The ability to natively build packages from source using
xbps-src is likely inspired by pkgsrc and other BSD ports collections.
In May 2018, the project was moved to a new website and code repository by the core team after the project leader had not been heard from for several months.
As of February 2023, Void is the fourth highest rated project on DistroWatch, with a score of 9.08 out of 10.
Void is a notable exception to the majority of Linux distributions because it uses runit as its init system instead of the more common systemd used by other distributions such as Arch Linux, Debian and Fedora. It is also unique among distributions in that separate software repositories and installation media using both glibc and musl are available.
Void was the first distribution to have incorporated LibreSSL as the system cryptography library by default. In February 2021, the Void Linux team announced Void Linux would be switching back to OpenSSL on March 5, 2021. Among the reasons were the problematic process of patching software that was primarily written to work with OpenSSL, the support for some optimizations and earlier access to newer algorithms. A switch to OpenSSL began in April 2020 in the GitHub issue of the void-packages repository where most of the discussion has taken place.
Due to its rolling release nature, a system running Void is kept up-to-date with binary updates always carrying the newest release. Source packages are maintained on GitHub and can be compiled using the xbps-src build system. The package build process is performed in a clean environment, not tied to the current system, and most packages can be cross-compiled for foreign architectures.
As of April 2017, Void Linux supports Flatpak, which allows the installation of the latest packages from upstream repositories.
Void Linux can be downloaded as a base image or as a flavor image. The base image contains little more than basic programs; users can then configure an environment for themselves. The flavor image contains a pre-configured Xfce desktop environment. Cinnamon, Enlightenment, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, and GNOME used to be offered as pre-packaged live images, but are no longer offered "in order to decrease the overhead involved with testing."
The live images contain an installer that offers a ncurses-based user interface. The default root shell is Dash.
|Platform||C library||Desktop enviornment|
|Raspberry Pi 1/2/3/4|
Void Linux for PowerPC/Power ISA (unofficial) was a fork of Void Linux for PowerPC and Power ISA, with the project ending in early 2023. It supported 32-bit and 64-bit devices, big-endian and little-endian operation, and musl and glibc. Void-ppc maintained its own build infrastructure and package repositories, and aimed to build all of Void Linux's packages on all targets. It was a fork largely because of technical issues with Void Linux's build infrastructure.
Project Trident was a Linux distribution based on Void Linux, but was discontinued in March of 2022.
On February 2023, Jesse Smith, of DistroWatch, said "The Void distribution is one of the fastest, lightest, most cleanly designed Linux distributions I've had the pleasure of using. Everything is trim, efficient, and surprisingly fast." Also, "Void has a relatively small repository of software [but] most of the key applications are there."
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