I noticed in somewhere that most of the Linux distro are based on Systemd instead of SysV init.

So I just want to know without installing and booting. Is there any possible way to find distro based on Systemd or SysV init ?

  • Read the homepage of the distribution. May 8 '18 at 15:14
  • Old but potentially useful: unix.stackexchange.com/q/18209/117549
    – Jeff Schaller
    May 8 '18 at 16:09
  • An erroneous assumption underpinning this question is that distributions can only include one or the other, not both, nor other things entirely; and that no distribution exists where this is an installation, or post-installation, choice amongst several alternatives.
    – JdeBP
    May 9 '18 at 11:07

On distrowatch.com you can search for distributions using the init system as a criterion. You can even select "not systemd".

  • 1
    Thanks, I asked someone a similar question, this is a great way to get a list. Be aware that both "not systemd" and "systemd" are selecting Linux Mint as #1/#2 , for example. I think it's because the 17.x series is still in support and does not require systemd, based on this comment. So I guess you still have to double-check before you install.
    – sourcejedi
    May 17 '18 at 9:42

Check for the existence of the characteristic configuration files and administration tools of each init system.

If /etc/inittab does not exist, then the init system is definitely not SysVinit. If it exists but has only one non-comment line, and the comments are saying "this is only used for specifying the default runlevel, nothing else will have any effect", the init system might be upstart.

If /etc/init/ is a directory, then the system configuration at least provides the option to use upstart.

If directories like /usr/lib/systemd/system, /lib/systemd/system and/or /etc/systemd/system exist, the system at least has the configuration files for systemd.

If initctl list as root produces a list of processes controlled by the init system, upstart is definitely in use.

If systemctl status displays a list of running system services (you don't even have to be root to run it!), systemd is definitely in use.

If /etc/inittab exists and neither initctl list nor systemctl status works, then it looks like SysVinit.

If /etc/inittab exists and it is having this line inittab is no longer used when using systemd. then it systemd only.

  • Now see unix.stackexchange.com/a/196252/5132 for the unwarranted assumptions that these involve. (-: Also note that the questioner explicitly asked about how to do this without bootstrapping the system in question and running programs on it.
    – JdeBP
    May 9 '18 at 10:55
  • Oops. I plead -ENOCOFFEE.
    – telcoM
    May 9 '18 at 13:03

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