Void Linux Vs. Musl Vs. Glibc: Libc Comparisons

Void Linux Vs. Musl Vs. Glibc: Libc Comparisons

libc, the standard C library, is a set of functions that provide the basic functionality of the C programming language. It is responsible for managing memory, input and output, and other essential tasks.

There are two main implementations of libc: glibc and musl. Void Linux is a Linux distribution that uses musl libc by default, while most other Linux distributions use glibc.

glibc is the older and more widely used implementation of libc. It is a large and complex library, with a long history of development. glibc is known for its stability and reliability, and it is supported by a large community of developers.

musl is a newer and smaller implementation of libc. It was designed to be more lightweight and portable than glibc, and it has a simpler design. musl is known for its speed and efficiency, and it is often used in embedded systems and other resource-constrained environments.

Comparison of Void Linux, musl, and glibc

Feature Void Linux musl glibc
libc musl musl glibc
Size Small Small Large
Complexity Simple Simple Complex
Speed Fast Fast Slow
Efficiency Efficient Efficient Inefficient
Stability Stable Stable Stable
Community Small Small Large
Support Limited Limited Extensive


Void Linux, musl, and glibc are all viable options for Linux users. Void Linux is a good choice for users who want a lightweight and efficient system, while glibc is a good choice for users who need a stable and feature-rich system. musl is a good choice for users who need a portable and resource-constrained system.## [Void Linux Vs. Musl Vs. Glibc: Libc Comparisons]

Executive Summary

The GNU C Library (Glibc) is among the most prevalent C standard libraries used in Linux distributions, being ubiquitous due to being included in the default toolchain of many popular distros. However, Glibc carries significant size and complexity, hence the emergence of alternatives such as musl, which offers performance and security benefits. This article offers an in-depth comparison of these libraries, including their design philosophies, advantages, and appropriate use cases, empowering readers to make informed decisions about their system’s C library.


C libraries form the cornerstone of system software as they provide the fundamental functionalities and system calls required for program execution. Typically, Linux systems rely on Glibc or musl to fulfill this role, though each brings its own set of distinctive features and performance characteristics.

Design Philosophies

Glibc: Extensive and All-Encompassing

  • Over 20 years of development, resulting in a comprehensive library addressing a wide array of use cases.
  • Includes numerous features such as internationalization, threading, and debugging.

Musl: Lean and Minimalist

  • Developed with a focus on simplicity, portability, and auditability.
  • Smaller and more streamlined than Glibc, focusing on providing the core C library functionalities.

Features and Compatibility

Glibc: Comprehensive and Extensive

  • Supports a large number of architectures and platforms, ensuring broad compatibility.
  • Offers a vast array of features, including Unicode support, locale handling, and multithreading.

Musl: Limited but Essential

  • Supports a subset of architectures compared to Glibc, but still covers major platforms.
  • Lacks certain advanced features found in Glibc, focusing on providing the essential C library functionalities.

Performance and Security

Glibc: Performance at the Cost of Size

  • Glibc’s extensive feature set incurs a performance overhead.
  • Larger codebase increases attack surface, making it more vulnerable to security exploits.

Musl: Performance and Security Optimized**

  • Musl’s lean design and smaller codebase result in better performance, especially on low-resource systems.
  • Fewer attack vectors reduce the risk of security vulnerabilities.

Use Cases

Glibc: Ideal for General-Purpose Systems

  • Suitable for desktop and server systems requiring comprehensive functionality and broad compatibility.
  • Examples include Ubuntu, Fedora, and Debian.

Musl: Suitable for Embedded, Security, and Minimalist Systems

  • Ideal for lightweight and resource-constrained environments, such as IoT devices, containers, and security-sensitive applications.
  • Examples include Void Linux, Alpine Linux, and Gentoo.


Choosing between Glibc and musl hinges on application needs. For systems prioritizing comprehensive functionality, Glibc stands as the established choice. In contrast, for use cases favoring efficiency, security, and minimalism, musl presents a promising alternative. By understanding the distinctive features and use cases of Glibc and musl, readers can optimize their systems’ performance and security.

Keyword Phrase Tags:

  • Void Linux comparison
  • C library
  • Glibc vs. musl
  • Linux distribution
  • System optimization
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Comments 13
  1. One of the best parts of this article are the pros and cons of the packages – “This package is fast but limited in functionality” you know. Normally I never get this much info about the tools

  2. well, i don’t know. i have been working with linux for a looooong time and libc has always been there and it does what is supposed to do.

  3. Before today, I’ve never heard of Musl libc. After reading this article, I don’t think I’ll ever use it. What a trash

  4. Funny how this article ignores the fact that Glibc is the most widely used libc on Linux. That should tell you something

  5. I’m a developer and I’ve used both Glibc and Musl libc. I prefer Glibc because it’s more stable and has a wider range of features.

  6. I’ve been using Void Linux with Musl libc for a while now and I’ve been very happy with it. It’s fast, stable, and secure.

  7. I’m not a developer so I don’t really understand all the technical details. But I can tell you that Void Linux with Musl libc is a great distro.

  8. I’ve been using Glibc for years and I’ve never had any problems with it. But I’m always willing to try new things. I might give Musl libc a try on my next project.

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