I don't want this to become a "my distribution is better" flamewar so please read the whole question and only answer if you know a distribution that fulfils all requirements.

The situation is the following: We have servers running Proxmox and a lot of OpenVZ VMs on them. The used kernel is old and has problems with systemd. We currently run mostly Debian Wheezy, except for some software only supporting Ubuntu. Debian jessie just got released, as you probably know and has systemd as standard. I tried upgrading a VM without installing systemd and it worked OK, but then the problems so many feared started. The first was

php5-fpm : Depends: libsystemd0

As stated, there is a reason I can't use systemd (apart from my dislike for it) and I am not really fond of the thought to start compiling and distributing parts of the core infrastructure we use. (And PHP is a important part because we host websites for customers)

Is there any stable distribution left one can use for servers that should run safely without non security based updates?

Something like CentOS or Debian stable without systemd?

Or is there no other way than switching the whole hosting setup to something that supports systemd?

  • Are you talking about a distribution choice for your containers or the host virtualization environment?
    – user86969
    May 5, 2015 at 14:44
  • The containers mainly. Probably we have to switch the host sometime, but that's a bigger project.
    – Josef
    May 6, 2015 at 6:16

2 Answers 2


You can run Debian Jessie without running systemd. On upgrades, just make sure sysvinit-core remains installed (see the release notes for details; they specifically address LXC concerns which are similar to yours on OpenVZ). On new installs, see https://wiki.debian.org/systemd#Installing_without_systemd for instructions.

libsystemd0 provides systemd support on systems using systemd. It can be installed without requiring systemd to be actually used... As long as the systemd and systemd-sysv packages are not installed then you're not using systemd.

  • 1
    Thanks, that would be great. I will try that today. I had systemd pinned to -1 so it won't get installed, that's why libsystemd0 was not installable. I try to install that package manually and then leave upstart for the boot process. That would be the best solution, because I like debian.
    – Josef
    May 6, 2015 at 6:18

You cannot remove systemd from Debian 8 without affecting a wide range of Debian packages which have systemd support already compiled into them. Sure you can remove libsystemd0, but that will also take udev and consolekit with it, for instance. If you decide to install/patch something later which relies on systemd, consolekit or udev, you will not be able to without installing the systemd dependencies first.

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