Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Feb 2015 18:46 UTC

This is, in my mind, orthogonal to the systemd question. I used to be able to say Linux was clean, logical, well put-together, and organized. I can't really say this anymore. Users and groups are not really determinitive for permissions, now that we have things like polkit running around. (Yes, by the way, I am a member of plugdev.) Error messages are unhelpful (WHY was I not authorized?) and logs are nowhere to be found. Traditionally, one could twiddle who could mount devices via /etc/fstab lines and perhaps some sudo rules. Granted, you had to know where to look, but when you did, it was simple; only two pieces to fit together. I've even spent time figuring out where to look and STILL have no idea what to do.

systemd may help with some of this, and may hurt with some of it; but I see the problem more of an attitude of desktop environments to add features fast without really thinking of the implications. There is something to be said for slower progress if the result is higher quality.

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I started running Linux in college in 93' I believe. It was SLS (now defunct but similar to Slackware) and the kernel was 0.98. I've run nearly every distro known to God and man and rolled my own when I've had to. I've maintained MIPS distros for embedded boards, written proprietary device drivers for Linux in C, etc. etc... I have what anyone but perhaps Linus and the LKML folks would consider Linux street cred. I'm old now, and yeah, I'm a bit cranky about "The New Linux" (you kids weren't around for New Coke, but it's got the same feel). Sysadmin gigs are what I do for a living (mostly), as well.

I don't see Linux as evil or destructive, and hey at least it's open source (the GPL has it's ups and downs, though). However, as a 20 year professional sysadmin and current RHCE-holder I can't say I like it anymore, either. It's devolved quite a bit on some key fronts, in my opinion. I've worked my adult life in god-awful huge corporations. In the current one we run multiple distros (forced to) but mostly RHEL and OEL with a sprinkling of SuSE and other one-offs. When I say large company think hundreds of thousands of employees and tens of thousands of hosts. I lead a group of professional sysadmins, RHCEs every one. None of us are really thrilled with the the following:

* Slamming in systemd with too little time, thought, alternatives, or tact.

* Scammy RHCE "education" services for certs.

* Attitudes & style issues about "devops" or "cloud" tools overriding good sense about KISS principles.

* The Unix philosophy is punked whenever it suits Redhat. Contrary to silly conformity trends in our industry, text configuration files and human-readable logs still rock. What happened to simplicity and clarity being top principles? Oh yeah, when Pottering and Android showed up, but I digress....

* Ask yourself, are there any larger endowment of great lego-like tools than those that deal with files and text? Then don't XML me, bro! (and yes I know systemd doesn't use XML. this isn't just about systemd or journald suckage).

I've been a paid sysadmin for Irix, Tru64/OSF1, OpenVMS, HP-UX, AIX, and others. Redhat Enterprise Linux is definitely NOT what myself or my peers hold in the highest esteem as an illustration of the beautiful simplicity of the Unix ideal as Dennis, Ken, and the BSD crowd have seen it.

What you learn when you do it for a living for decades is that they all have their ways of sucking. You are looking for least suck. Yes, I'm another enthusiastic and excited BSD user (thank goodness for BSD! Faith in Unix ++). It's NetBSD and FreeBSD for me (mostly) on my personal hardware. They can suck also, but they just tend to do it less.

With BSD, I get less pretentious names, less abstraction, no XML, no Java, and no insulting captive interface hand holding. I get slack, though. I'd like more simple human readable text config files (what do you want at 3AM when you are on call and the pager goes off?). I don't care that it's harder to parse them vs XML in your java program. I LIKE "everything is a file". LOTS of tools work on files. BSD gives me excellent man pages, a complete OS (not just a kernel and a bag of stuff), a comprehensive manual, a bad attitude toward binary blobbery, a friendly BSD license and a great community with fewerchildren wanting to turn my treasured Unix OS into a tablet/phone/"cloud-os" while feeding me some trendy hype.

Some of us have the privilege to work with HPC or huge OLTP environments (we are talking NUMA SSI super computers here, folks). In large clusters or highly scaled out systems, you want things as simple as possible in these environments because there is less to break and it simplifies your job as well as most automation tasks. You might think these huge systems are hyper-complex, but the really good ones are repeatable and intuitively simple to support, not complicated. I raise an eyebrow toward Linux and the Pottering crowd and release a tired sigh of loss as I watch my old friend Linux turn into something I don't believe is really Unixy enough for me anymore.

Some folks will celebrate that drift from core principles and call it progress (and perhaps for them it might be). I feel it's just a repeating cycle, I've seen play out in one form or another over and over.

Listen to the man: "Those who do not learn from Unix are doomed to re-invent it.... poorly." (or something like that).

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