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Chimera Linux is a unique Linux distribution that has been under development for almost two years. It is designed as a “non-GNU” distribution, built using the LLVM Clang compiler and musl libc. Additionally, it is primarily built on BSD user-space software components. After much effort, the project is now in the process of preparing for its alpha release, which is expected to occur within the next month.
At the recent FOSDEM conference, Daniel Kolesa, the lead developer of Chimera Linux, spoke about this “BSD/LLVM distro from scratch.” While the project had initially been envisioned as a Linux distribution, it has since shifted its focus to become a “BSD” distribution. As a result, core tools from FreeBSD are now being used, along with LLVM/Clang instead of GCC. The distribution achieved self-booting in late 2021, and it is currently using Alpine Linux’s apk package manager.
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Unlike many other Linux distributions that use systemd, Chimera Linux has opted to use Dinit instead. It is believed to be the first Linux distribution to use this option by default. Over the past year, the Chimera Linux team has made significant strides in getting the modern GNOME desktop running atop Wayland.
Currently, the BSD/LLVM distro is targeting its alpha release for late February or early March. The alpha period is expected to last between six and twelve months while the team irons out additional features, such as a libgcc compatibility shim for better Linux binary compatibility, support for D-Bus activation, additional system hardening, and better documentation.
Daniel Kolesa believes that his BSD/Linux creation is “nearing usability” and hopes that the alpha release by early March will be ready for early adopters. Those interested in learning more about this fascinating Linux distribution can access the PDF slide deck and FOSDEM 2023 video recording online. For more information, visit the Chimera-Linux.org project site.