I know that this question has already got asked before, but it's pretty old and things have changed (probably).

Already in 2009 the news rumbled, that Debian was going to switch to Upstart. You were able to install it, but had to remove sysvinit:

$ aptitude show upstart
$ > Conflicts: startup-tasks, system-services, sysvinit, upstart-compat-sysv, upstart-job

It appears like you can still install Upstart, as it is in the Debian packages.

So my question is, what's the status quo? Was there any development on this? Does Debian still use sysvinit; did they switch to another system comparable to Upstart?

  • 3
    Mark Shuttleworth just announced that Ubuntu will move to systemd together with Debian. This was just reported on LWN
    – vonbrand
    Feb 14 '14 at 17:34
  • 1
    Here's his blog post about it: markshuttleworth.com/archives/1316 Would seem to indicate that Upstart is down for the count 8-).
    – slm
    Feb 14 '14 at 17:55

They use insserv by default, which still requires the sysvinit package as of Debian 6.0 (Squeeze). It was originally developed and used in OpenSUSE. Links to discussions and reasons for the change to insserv can be found on the Debian Wiki.

There has been much debate over the future of init systems in Debian. The main reason that Debian has not moved on to a new init system such as Upstart or Systemd is that they both use Linux specific features. Debian offers ports for non-Linux kernels such as KFreeBSD. Even though they are not the default and not fully supported by all services, they can still be used.

Here is an archive link for some of their recent discussions: http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2012/03/msg00452.html. As a warning, it is 100 emails long and even spawned into sub-threads.


According to this blog entry, you can use upstart in Debian unstable (=sid).

Debian wheezy (currently testing, hopefully soon stable) contains still an old version of upstart and could therefore have the old problems.

  • 3
    You can use upstart in current stable, and have been able to for years. This is nothing new.
    – jordanm
    Dec 30 '12 at 20:33

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