"Having had several issues with systemd, and really not liking the philosophy behind it, I am looking into alternatives. I really prefer something that follows the Unix philosophy of using small, focused, and independent tools, with a clear interface. Unfortunately, my favourite distro, Arch Linux, is very much pro-systemd, and a discussion of alternatives is liable to get you banned for a month from their forums. There is an effort to support openrc, but it is still in its infancy and without much support.
So, what are the alternatives, besides Gentoo? Preferably binary... I'd rather have something like arch, with quick updates, cutting edge, but I've already used a lot in the past Mandrake, RedHat, SourceMage, Debian, Kubuntu, and so on, so the package format or the package management differences don't scare me."
[ED Note: I'm imagining FreeBSD sitting in the room with the all the Linux distros he mentioned being utterly ignored like Canada in Hetalia.]
Linux is not all about choice at every level of the OS. How many Linux distros use non-Linux kernels? How many different versions of the Linux kernel are out there? Except for some older projects, everyone's on the 2.6/3.0 kernel tree now, with few variations. The Linux kernel has never made any attempt at being ABI compatible with other Unix kernels, and instead has preferred to forge ahead with new Linux-specific features like cgroups.
There's also been attempts to standardize parts of the Linux stack, namely the LSB. That standardization hasn't happened yet, but there've been attempts to move that way to some degree.
Basically, the lower in the stack you go, there more need there is for standardization. It's harder to swap kernels than image-editing programs or text editors on a system. The init system is pretty deep in the stack, only sitting directly on top of the kernel. If you're getting this worked up over an init system, then maybe you should take a look at other systems like FreeBSD, Solaris, or AIX. None of those use sysvinit either, and all of them have only a single init system, each one totally specific to that OS and kernel.
How many Linux distros use non-Linux kernels?
Linux is the kernel. It wouldn't be a Linux distribution if it used another kernel. It would be something like GNU Hurd.</pedantic>