Linux Mobile Distro postmarketOS Adopts systemd to Better Support GNOME, KDE Plasma

The Sxmo offering will be built on top of the OpenRC init system while the KDE Plasma Mobile and GNOME images will be powered by systemd.
PinePhone postmarketOS Community Edition

The developers of the Alpine Linux-based postmarketOS mobile distribution announced today that they’re now supporting the systemd init system alongside OpenRC and other alternative init systems.

For more than six years now, postmarketOS has been providing the Linux and open-source community with a powerful mobile operating system that they can install on a wide range of devices where Android or other mobile OS is no longer supported.

Being built on top of Alpine Linux, postmarketOS always shipped with OpenRC for its init system and also offered support for similar init systems like runit, s6, or dinit. And now, to give users more choices and to provide better compatibility with the KDE Plasma Mobile and GNOME desktops, postmarketOS is also supporting systemd.

Building postmarketOS with systemd has its advantages, including but not limited to granular privilege controls, built-in boot-time analysis, powerful service dependency and security analysis features, tight cgroups integration (static and dynamic), as well as socket activation to let users print from their devices without CUPS running.

In addition, the postmarketOS devs have always used a lot of systemd polyfills on top of OpenRC to make the KDE Plasma Mobile and GNOME desktops compatible with their OS, without actually using systemd. With the systemd support in place, the postmarketOS devs no longer have to put extra effort into maintaining additional code.

“After first seriously considering this idea almost a year ago, we have made the decision to fix these incompatibilities and friction by just providing a version of postmarketOS that builds on top of systemd,” said the devs. “One of the main blockers we found as we collaborate more closely with KDE and GNOME developers is that they have a hard time with our OpenRC-based stack.”

postmarketOS currently supports the Sxmo, Phosh, GNOME Shell on Mobile, and KDE Plasma Mobile UIs. While the Sxmo images will stay with OpenRC, the GNOME and KDE Plasma Mobile images will be built on top of systemd, and the developers have already provided a handful of proof-of-concept (a.k.a. not for the faint of heart) images running GNOME that you can download and try right now from here for OnePlus 6 (enchilada), OnePlus 6T (fajita), and Librem 5 phones.

There’s a lot of work ahead for the postmarketOS devs as they now have to adjust existing device ports to support systemd. I’m hopeful that it won’t take long until a new stable postmarketOS release will be made available for download, hopefully with support for new devices and the latest Plasma Mobile 6 and GNOME 46 releases.

Image credits: Pine64

Last updated 1 month ago

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