Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 1st Oct 2003 23:09 UTC
General Development OSNews was the first news magazine to break the story on Gnome's Seth Nickell effort to replace the Init system. Soon, it became confusing to many readers as to if Seth is planning to completely replace the Init system or simply "bridge" it. We had a chat with Seth and discussed about his plans on the project (which is a personal project so far) and for Storage, an exciting project which aims to replace the traditional filesystem with a new database-based document store.
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Replacing the Aging Init Procedure
by wouter on Thu 2nd Oct 2003 04:32 UTC

1) The init system has small concessions to being a services framework rather than just a "boot-up-tool", but it really only provides the ability to start/stop/restart services.

True, I think. It's basic, and sometimes a bit kludgy.

2) The way init works doesn't fit really well into a desktop interface.

Ofcourse not. Because it's supposed to do more than just focus on the desktop: it's supposed to bring the whole system into an operational state, including services that have nothing to do with X, and should be loaded before it, e.g., mta, nfs, etc.

3) Most services are not required for running KDE/GNOME/whatever

But they are required for the system as a whole. I see Gnome as the top of my system, not the base. There is way more running beneath it, and often at least as important.

Besides, if 'the concept of runlevels is too cumbersome for most admins', you hired idiots. I mean, if you can't even grasp what gets started in which order and what will be running at or after the boot process, you should not even be allowed to run a box directly connected to the internet. I mean, you are talking about *admins*, not "dumb" users, after all.

3) Most services are not required for running KDE/GNOME/whatever.

But I need them! Otherwise I wouldn't start them, would I? Again, my computer is more than just Gnome!

And I do NOT want the GUI started before at least syslog, keyboarddriver, console, nfs, and other daemons/procedures I need initialised *before* my system is up and running. GUI's are too untrustable to depend on. If X locks up, you're done. And you would start sshd and other daemons *after* X, Gnome? That's hundreds of binaries and libs down the chain. If things go wrong, you never get there. And you're major stuck.

4) This one is part halting constant re-invention of the wheel, part personal agenda, and part clean architecture.

Very personal agenda, methinks. Although you have a point with 'clean architecture', I don't think it's a good idea to make everything dependent on GUI processes. Lots of things should be done *before* a GUI has the chance of taking over, because those things are:

needed for boot-up (e.g. nfs)

needed for the gui itself and its programs (e.g. mta, syslog)

necessary to ensure backup possibility when the gui comes crashing down or other things go wrong (e.g. console, keyboard, fsck, sshd)

more important than the gui (e.g. mta, dns-cache, imap, apache, whatever)


What you really want, is a init script cleanup and standardisation. And that I can agree with, I don't particulary like the init structure of most distro's, and maybe some smaller things would fit better *after* the booting of a GUI. I usually make my own bootscripts (lfs), and it can be done much cleaner than the kludgy must-work-for-everyone and-in-every-possible-configuration methods of most distro's. Maybe something that combines the late Linux Progress Patch with GDM would be a better idea to experiment with?

But to subject booting, system initialisation and daemon starting to a GUI, is madness, in my eyes. And too deep hooks of GUI into the base of the system sounds like a real horror (performance, security, compatibility, failover-safety, etc).

Don't make Microsoft's mistake: although lack of lotsa scrolling text makes it *look* more user friendly, you are deadlocked without info when something goes wrong, whether you are a beginner, advanced user or Billy Leech-you-dry Gates.