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The Void (Linux) distribution

Void is a general purpose operating system, based on the monolithic Linux kernel. Its package system allows you to quickly install, update and remove software; software is provided in binary packages or can be built directly from sources with the help of the XBPS source packages collection.

It is available for a variety of platforms. Software packages can be built natively or cross compiled through the XBPS source packages collection.

Follow us on Twitter, visit the #voidlinux IRC channel on libera.chat, and join the Void Linux subreddit.

Visit the Void build server console for package build status updates.

Contribute to the Void Linux project by adding and updating packages and extending the documentation. More information can be found in the Handbook.

Not a fork!

Void Linux is an independent distribution, developed entirely by volunteers.

Unlike trillions of other existing distros, Void is not a modification of an existing distribution. Void's package manager and build system have been written from scratch.

Stable rolling release

Void focuses on stability, rather than on being bleeding-edge. Install once, update routinely and safely.

Thanks to our continuous build system, new software is built into binary packages as soon as the changes are pushed to the void-packages repository.


We use runit as the init system and service supervisor.

runit is a simple and effective approach to initialize the system with reliable service supervision. Refer to the Void Handbook for an introduction.

C library diversity

Void Linux supports both the musl and GNU libc implementations, patching incompatible software when necessary and working with upstream developers to improve the correctness and portability of their projects.


xbps is the native system package manager, written from scratch with a 2-clause BSD license.

XBPS allows you to quickly install/update/remove software in your system and features detection of incompatible shared libraries and dependencies while updating or removing packages (among others). Refer to the Handbook for an overview.


xbps-src is the xbps package builder, written from scratch with a 2-clause BSD license.

This builds the software in containers through the use of Linux namespaces, providing isolation of processes and bind mounts (among others). No root required!

Additionally, xbps-src can build natively or cross compile for the target machine, and supports multiple C libraries (glibc and musl currently).

void-packages changes

xbps changes

October 24, 2023

Changes to Repository Sync

Void is a complex system, and over time we make changes to reduce this complexity, or shift it to easier to manage components. Recently through the fantastic work of one of our maintainers classabbyamp our repository sync system has been dramatically improved.

Previously our system was based on a series of host managed rsyncs running on either snooze or cron based timers. These syncs would push files to a central location to be signed and then distributed. This central location is sometimes referred to as the “shadow repo” since its not directly available to end users to synchronize from, and we don’t usually allow anyone outside Void to have access to it.

As you might have noticed from the Fastly Overview the packages take a long path from builders to repos. What is not obvious from the graph shown is that the shadow repo previously lived on the musl builder, meaning that packages would get built there, copied to the glibc builder, then copied back to the musl builder and finally copied to a mirror. So many copies! To streamline this process, the shadow mirror is now just the glibc server, since that’s where the packages have to wind up for architectural reasons anyway. This means we were able to cut out 2 rsyncs and reclaim a large amount of space on the musl builder, making the entire process less fragile and more streamlined.

But just removing rsyncs isn’t all that was done. To improve the time it takes for packages to make it to users, we’ve also switched the builders from using a time based sync to using lsyncd to take more active management of the synchronization process. In addition to moving to a more sustainable sync process, the entire process was moved up into our Nomad managed environment. Nomad allows us to more easily update services, monitor them for long term trends, and to make it clearer where services are deployed.

In addition to fork-lifting the sync processes, we also forklifted void-updates, xlocate, xq-api (package search), and the generation of the docs-site into Nomad. These changes represent some of the very last services that were not part of our modernized container orchestrated infrastructure.

Visually, this is what the difference looks like. Here’s before:

Prior sync architecture

And here’s what the sync looks like now, note that there aren’t any cycles for syncs now:

Current sync architecture

If you run a downstream mirror we need your help! If your mirror has existed for long enough, its possible that you were still synchronizing from alpha.de.repo.voidlinux.org, which has been a dead servername for several years now. Since moving around sync traffic is key to our ability to keep the lights on, we’ve provisioned a new dedicated DNS record for mirrors to talk to. The new repo-sync.voidlinux.org is the preferred origin point for all sync traffic and using it means that we can transparently move the sync origin during maintenance rather than causing an rsync hang on your sync job. Please check where you’re mirroring from and update accordingly.

October 07, 2023

Changes to Python 3 and pip on Void

Happy Pythonmas! It’s October, which means it’s Python 3 update season. This year, along with the usual large set of updates for Python packages, a safety feature for pip, the Python package manager, has been activated. To ensure that Python packages installed via XBPS and those installed via pip don’t interfere with one another, the system-wide Python environment has been marked as “externally managed”.

If you try to use pip3 or pip3 --user outside of a Python virtual environment, you may see this error that provides guidance on how to deploy a virtual environment suitable for use with pip:

This system-wide Python installation is managed by the Void Linux package
manager, XBPS. Installation of Python packages from other sources is not
normally allowed.

To install a Python package not offered by Void Linux, consider using a virtual
environment, e.g.:

  python3 -m venv /path/to/venv
  /path/to/venv/pip install <package>

Appending the flag --system-site-packages to the first command will give the
virtual environment access to any Python package installed via XBPS.

Invoking python, pip, and executables installed by pip in /path/to/venv/bin
should automatically use the virtual environment. Alternatively, source its
activation script to add the environment to the command search path for a shell:

  . /path/to/venv/activate

After activation, running


will remove the environment from the search path without destroying it.

The XBPS package python3-pipx provides pipx, a convenient tool to automatically
manage virtual environments for individual Python applications.

You can read more about this change on Python’s website in PEP 668.

To simplify the use of Void-based containers, all Void container images tagged 20231003R1 or later will explicitly ignore the “externally managed” marker. Containers based on these images will still be able to use pip to install Python packages in the container-wide environment.

Here Be Dragons

If you really want to be able to install packages with pip in the system- or user-wide Python environment, there are several options, but beware: this can cause hard-to-debug issues with Python applications, or issues when updating with XBPS.

  1. Use pip’s --break-system-packages flag. This only applies to the current invocation.
  2. Set pip’s configuration: pip3 config set install.break-system-packages True. This will apply to all future invocations.
  3. Add a noextract=/usr/lib/python*/EXTERNALLY-MANAGED rule to your XBPS configuration and re-install the python3 package. This will apply to all future invocations.