Devuan without D-Bus

This document describes how to remove D-Bus from Devuan incorporating changing to a lightweight window manager, choosing a browser and an alternative solution to D-Bus dependent auto-mounting.

Unlike desktop environments most window managers do not depend on D-Bus, so you should choose to install a window manager.

  • jwm
  • blackbox
  • fluxbox
  • fvwm
  • fvwm-crystal
  • openbox

Installing and configuring Fluxbox

We will be using Fluxbox as it is simple and intuitive.

root@devuan:~# apt-get install fluxbox

Make Fluxbox the default window manager for your user when using the startx script.

user@devuan:~@ echo "exec fluxbox" >> .xinitrc

You can now invoke the startx script to use fluxbox.

user@devuan:~@ startx

A good option for a display manager is WDM.

root@devuan:~# apt-get install wdm

There are few web browsers depending on dbus components, however some are better than others. Here are a handful of web browsers you might choose from.

  • xombrero
  • lynx
  • links2
  • dillo
  • midori
  • firefox-esr

We will go with the well known Firefiox ESR since it's the most featured.

root@devuan:~# apt-get install firefox-esr

We can now remove dbus from Devuan.

root@devuan:~# apt-get purge dbus

We should also remove any packages orphaned by dbus removal.

root@devuan:~# apt-get autoremove --purge

Note: Beware that apt-get autoremove may, in some cases, select packages for removal that you actually want to keep. Thus, having a good look at the list of packages to be removed before saying “y” on the confirmation prompt is adviced. In case autoremove selects any package that you would like to keep, just run apt-get install <package> to mark it as manually installed.

Without D-Bus you will not have auto-mounting available for most file managers, because those parts require D-Bus and simpler methods of mounting are not always implemented. We will set up mount points for ourselves, so that more sensible file managers can mount the volumes with just a few clicks.

Manual mount points

Make a directory for the new mount point. You can also do this also for other storage devices, but this will give you an example based on a USB device.

root@devuan:~# mkdir /media/usb0

Backup your fstab before proceeding.

root@devuan:~# cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab.backup

Now we can edit the fstab.

root@devuan:~# editor /etc/fstab

We need to add a mount point for a USB drive at the end of the fstab. Be sure to set the user option so that non-root users can mount the drive.

/dev/sdb1       /media/usb0     auto    user,noauto     0 0

The device nodes for usb disks will vary depending on your setup. You can find out which device nodes will be used by plugging in the drive and using the lsblk utility.

Plug in a USB drive to test your work.

user@devuan:~$ mount -v /media/usb0
user@devuan:~$ umount -v /media/usb0

For a graphical file manager that can mount and umount drives based on your fstab you can use Xfe.

root@devuan:~# apt-get install xfe

As of the ascii release you can also use spaceFM for the same purpose. Information on this is pending.

An interesting and minimalistic file manager is the ncurses based Midnight Commander.

root@devuan:~# apt-get install mc

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