Most of you know that I've been using Debian rather happily for a very long time, since hamm was stable, possibly before. I like Debian for many reasons, the social contract, its commitment to free software, although it seems to favor open source over free.1 and things are done in public. They also make it fairly trivial to use non-free software, which may be a good thing or a bad thing.

Back in the late 90's or early 2000's, I inherited the responsibilities of managing the subscriber email system for the phone company I was working for. I started looking to rip out sendmail for something better. Not that such is really relevant, other than qmail was a thing back then, which led me to the discovery of daemontools. I happily used daemontools until I discovered its replacement, runit, which I still use today. Until Jessie it was quite easy to not use the default SysV init system and use runit, even as PID 1. With Jessie it became harder, I didn't need the hassle so I started looking for other distributions.

Distributions using the Linux kernel and not using systemd are, well, scarce. Distributions using the Linux kernel, with systemd as the default init, but with the choice of using something else are even scarcer2. One of the advantages of free software is choice. If I don't like something, I can change it. Systemd has largely taken that choice away from GNU/Linux users. I think by design.

I'm not quite sure when I discovered Guix. I had seen Nix earlier. It seemed a strange way to build an operating system. If NixOS is strange, and GuixSD shares many of the ideas, why is the former strange and the latter not? I never stated the GuixSD isn't strange, it does indeed have very different ideas and semantics of how a GNU/Linux distribution should be put together. I happen to like it. GuixSD is committed to free software and is very hackable, as it composes packages as guile modules, even system services are composed as guile modules. This means that GuixSD doesn't use systemd, but not for systemd hater reasons.

I am now actively working to migrate all of my boxen and VPSes to GuixSD. The biggest blocks for me right now are lack of lvm support (I really don't want to give up lvm support for my file server), lack of a decent ikiwiki package, although I have it mostly working, with the modules I use, and lack of git-annex.

More about my work on guix is here.


  1. At one time a believe free and open were the same. I now understand differences. ↩

  2. One may even say nonexistent. I've not looked at every distro on distrowatch and probably none that aren't, so that's just a guess. ;) ↩