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Void Linux

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Void Linux
  • Void Linux Team,
  • Void Linux Community,
  • Original developer: Juan Romero Pardines (xtraeme)
OS familyLinux (Unix-like)
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source
Initial release2008
Latest releaseRolling release / installation medium 14 March 2024; 3 months ago (2024-03-14)[1]
Marketing targetGeneral purpose
Package manager
  • XBPS,
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux)
UserlandGNU + Glibc or GNU + Musl
Influenced byNetBSD
user interface
Command-line interface (Bourne shell as the default shell), Xfce
LicenseVarious licenses; Void-made software is mostly licensed under BSD 2-clause
Official websitevoidlinux.org Edit this at Wikidata

Void Linux[3] 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).[4][5]


Void Linux was created in 2008 by Juan Romero Pardines, a former developer of NetBSD,[6] 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.[7]

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.[8][9][10]

As of May 2024, Void is the highest rated project on DistroWatch, with a score of 9.26 out of 10.[11]


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.[12] It is also unique among distributions in that separate software repositories and installation media using either glibc or musl are available.

Void was the first distribution to have incorporated LibreSSL[3] as the system cryptography library by default.[2] 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.[13] 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.[14]

Due to its rolling release nature, a system running Void is kept up-to-date with binary updates from the repositories in contrast with a point release. [15] Source packages are maintained on GitHub and can be compiled using the xbps-src build system.[16] 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.[17]


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."[18][19]

The live images contain an installer that offers a ncurses-based user interface. The default root shell is Dash.[15]

Void Linux live image table[1]
Platform C library Desktop environment
glibc musl Xfce
i686 Yes No Yes
amd64 Yes
Raspberry Pi 1/2/3/4/5 Yes No[note 1]


Void Linux for PowerPC/Power ISA (unofficial) was[20] 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.[21]

Project Trident was a Linux distribution based on Void Linux,[22] but was discontinued[23] in March of 2022.[24]


In 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."[25]


  1. ^ Can be installed separately.


  1. ^ a b "March 2024 Image Release (and Raspberry Pi 5 support)". 14 March 2024. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
  2. ^ a b "The Void (Linux) distribution". Archived from the original on 2019-02-07. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  3. ^ a b "Void". DistroWatch. Archived from the original on 2018-06-14. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  4. ^ Wallen, Jack (2017-10-27). "Void Linux: A Salute to Old-School Linux". Linux.com. Archived from the original on 2019-02-28. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  5. ^ Smith, Jesse (2017-05-29). "Returning to the Void". DistroWatch Weekly. DistroWatch. Archived from the original on 2019-07-30. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  6. ^ Baader, Hans-Joachim (2015-06-12). "Void Linux: Distribution mit XBPS-Paketverwaltung" (in German). Pro-Linux. Archived from the original on 2021-05-02. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  7. ^ "Hackover Vortrag zu Void Linux" (in German). 2014-10-25. Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  8. ^ "Serious Issues". voidlinux.org. May 2018. Archived from the original on 1 April 2019. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  9. ^ "GitHub Organisation is moving". voidlinux.org. 3 June 2018. Archived from the original on 1 April 2019. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  10. ^ Aldridge, Michael (November 28, 2018). "ENOBDFL". Archived from the original on 2019-08-30. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  11. ^ "DistroWatch Project Ranking". DistroWatch. Archived from the original on 2019-08-22. Retrieved 2023-07-24.
  12. ^ "Without Systemd". Archived from the original on 2020-05-11. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  13. ^ "Switching back to OpenSSL". 23 February 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-10-16. Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  14. ^ "[RFC] Switching back to OpenSSL #20935". GitHub. Archived from the original on 2021-02-28. Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  15. ^ a b Jesse Smith (2015-04-06). "Looking into the Void distribution". DistroWatch Weekly. DistroWatch. Archived from the original on 2018-06-28. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  16. ^ The XBPS source packages collection on GitHub
  17. ^ "Flatpak". 2017-04-14. Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  18. ^ "Index of /live/20210218". Archived from the original on 2021-11-20. Retrieved 2021-11-08.
  19. ^ "Void Downloads". Archived from the original on 2021-10-18. Retrieved 2021-11-08.
  20. ^ "Project status update for 2023". Archived from the original on 2022-09-16. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  21. ^ "About - Void Linux for PPC (unofficial) documentation". 2019-09-20. Archived from the original on 2020-10-31. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  22. ^ "Project Trident Ditches BSD for Linux". 2019-10-19. Archived from the original on 2021-03-08. Retrieved 2021-02-22.
  23. ^ "Project Trident Sunset". 29 October 2021. Archived from the original on 23 December 2021.
  24. ^ "After Moving From FreeBSD to Void Linux, Project Trident Finally Discontinues". It's FOSS News. 2021-11-04. Archived from the original on 2023-01-21. Retrieved 2023-01-21.
  25. ^ Smith, Jesse (2023-02-20). "Underrated distributions". Distrowatch. Archived from the original on 2023-02-23. Retrieved 2023-02-24.

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