How to install Devuan(I)

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Let’s see how to install Devuan, a for of Debian GNU/Linux free of systemd as is main feature. This is the first article of a series of two on installing Devuan.


For this tutorial, I’m installing the Beowoulf 3.1 release, and using the netinstall disk image to download just what I need. There are other options:

  • desktop-live: to test devuan without installing as other live CDs. After try it you can also use the refracta installer to install on disk. My next article about Devuan will cover this installer.
  • netinstall: the one I’m using here, needs a good internet connection or at least some patience
  • server: suitable for server installations. There are other CD images with some desktops (xfce, mate and cinnamon) and additional software
  • desktop: a DVD image for full offline installations
  • minimal-live: console-based recovery tool

You can choose your image and download from here:


The devuan installer is pretty similar to the Debian installer. In another article I will write about the refracta installer. So, I’ve set up a new virtual machine on Virtualbox and started

how to install devuan.boot screen
Devuan netinstall CD boot screen

Just choose install and in the next screens first you should choose your language, location and keyboard distribution:

Configuring the keyboard

Secondly the installer will load other components and try to autoconfigure the network:

how to install devuan.hostname
setting your hostname

Now, with the network configured, the third step is to set root password and create a non-root user:

new user
creating a non admin user

Disk partition

The fourth step is to partition the disk:

how to install devuan. partition1
I always prefer to do it manually

If you have a new disk choose create an empty partition table and in the next screen press enter over the “FREE SPACE” option:

An empty disk ready to be partitioned

I rather put all the files in one root partition than create individual /home, /usr or /var. But this is a mater of your own choice. Anyway, leave room for a swap partition when choosing the size.

Setting the first disk partition

If you, as me, choose to use just one large root partition, change the mountpoint to / instead of /home, also set the bootable flag as On. If you want to use another filesystem you can change it here; the next screenshot will show the available options.

The last step on this section is to create a swap area. Press enter over the remaining free space to create another partition.

creating the swap area

Press enter in the “Use as:” option and choose “swap area”.

The last step is to press enter in the option “Finish partition and write changes” to commit the changes, you’ll se a last warning:

confirm disk changes

This is the no return point. The installer now will partition the disk, format the partitions to create the filesystems and install the base system. Go for a coffee in the meanwhile and we continue in a couple of minutes.

Software installation

When the base system is installed and while drinking that coffee, it’s time to set the package manager:

Reading CD/DVD

This is usefull for offline installations, I wouldn’t scan another disc because I’m using netinstall. And because of netinstall I need to choose a Devuan archive mirror for the repos:

how to install devuan.choose mirror
choosing a packages repository

The last step in this section is to choose a desktop and/or other “tasks” (a group of packages) to install:

The default desktop is Xfce. I like LXDE (or lxqt here) very much

Init and bootloader

Devuan doesn’t include systemd, but let’s you choose an init system between sysvinit (the standard in linux distributions before systemd); openrc which I been using in gentoo without noticing several differences, and runit which I haven’t tried yet. When in doubt, go with the default or recommended:

init system (no systemd!)
Choosing an init system

The last step is to install the grub bootloader:

how to install devuan.grub
I only have one OS in this VM, so grub goes to the MBR

And this is it how to install devuan, now continue to reboot the computer and start working with Devuan.

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Gonzalo Rivero
Gonzalo Rivero
I am Gonzalo, I live in Salta, a city located in the NW of Argentina. I play the guitar and a little harmonica. I also like to bike.


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