Linked by jessesmith on Wed 5th Nov 2014 10:39 UTC
Linux Over the past year I've been reading a lot of opinions on the new init technology, systemd. Some people think systemd is wonderful, the bee's knees. Others claim that systemd is broken by design. Some see systemd as a unifying force, a way to unite the majority of the Linux distributions. Others see systemd as a growing blob that is slowly becoming an overly large portion of the operating system. One thing that has surprised me a little is just how much people care about systemd, whether their opinion of the technology is good or bad. People in favour faithfully (and sometimes falsely) make wonderful claims about what systemd is and what it can supposedly do. Opponents claim systemd will divide the Linux community and drive many technical users to other operating systems. There is a lot of hype and surprisingly few people presenting facts.
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RE: A cople of comments.
by crystall on Wed 5th Nov 2014 13:48 UTC in reply to "A cople of comments."
crystall
Member since:
2007-02-06

People tend to forget that open source is not democracy but rather a meritocracy ("those who do, get to make the decisions"), and as long as the anti-systemd groups are limited to spamming systemd-related articles in news sites and forums, their voice will simply be ignored by the major distributions.
Only when these groups start doing something constructive, such as developing an alternative base system *, this argument will become as relevant as the KDE vs. GNOME, vim vs. Emacs and Linux vs. BSD arguments.


I think you've nailed the issue perfectly without realizing it. FOSS software being a meritocracy doesn't hold true anymore especially in the context of systemd. That's because systemd is fundamentally a RedHat technology. It's free, the source's available, etc... but the majority of the development is done by paid RedHat employees and decisions on its direction are taken by RedHat employees. There's no way a pure volunteer-based effort can take on that both for lack of resources and for inability to make an impact (suppose that a new, better init system came out, do you think RedHat would take it in its distro after having sunk that much money and time into systemd development and education for their userbase?).

So I find unsurprising that part of Debian's userbase is unhappy with the choice. They weren't really given the choice - as in, it lived alongside other init systems for a while and was overwhelmingly preferred by users over alternatives.

It's a RedHat technology that's been introduced in RedHat, or RedHat-sponsored distributions because RedHat management decided that it was the best option for them and now it's becoming Debian's default by virtue of other pieces of software having significant dependencies on it. No merit was involved though systemd does have its merits.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: A cople of comments.
by CapEnt on Wed 5th Nov 2014 19:39 in reply to "RE: A cople of comments."
CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

Meritocracy is meritocracy no matter if it was done by a individual, a loose group or a corporation.

If it happens to be RedHat that funds the development of software pieces that Debian though to be important enough to compel then to choose SystemD, the merit is all upon RedHat, their management and the quality of their developers.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: A cople of comments.
by gilboa on Wed 5th Nov 2014 21:41 in reply to "RE: A cople of comments."
gilboa Member since:
2005-07-06

The mere fact that systemd is also/mostly developed by payed developers is irrelevant. This is just as true when it comes to kernel, Qt and other large OSS projects.

Plus,

It's a RedHat technology that's been introduced in RedHat, or RedHat-sponsored distributions because RedHat management decided that it was the best option for them and now it's becoming Debian's default by virtue of other pieces of software having significant dependencies on it. No merit was involved though systemd does have its merits.


1+ billion dollars in *paying* RHEL and Oracle Linux customers seem to point at the exact opposite (Let alone millions of CentOS and Scientific Linux users).
Again, if systemd was a "management decision" made by RHEL, I would imagine that the millions of RHEL systems would be flocking to a non-systemd distribution.
Thus far, I only see movement in opposite direction.

Again, you fail to explain what stops the million of oppressed anti-systemd developers and users from forking the latest non-systemd distribution and going on, on their separate way?

Can it be that most of the OSS developers are actually in-favor of a Linux/systemd based system?

- Gilboa

Edited 2014-11-05 21:52 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: A cople of comments.
by crystall on Thu 6th Nov 2014 11:15 in reply to "RE[2]: A cople of comments."
crystall Member since:
2007-02-06

The mere fact that systemd is also/mostly developed by payed developers is irrelevant. This is just as true when it comes to kernel, Qt and other large OSS projects.


It's relevant in the sense that the original approach taken when developing FOSS software is essentially gone. Since Debian is a volunteer based effort, they're sensible to this change. As you point out that holds true for the kernel and various other technologies (browsers, GUI toolkits, etc...).

1+ billion dollars in *paying* RHEL and Oracle Linux customers seem to point at the exact opposite (Let alone millions of CentOS and Scientific Linux users).
Again, if systemd was a "management decision" made by RHEL, I would imagine that the millions of RHEL systems would be flocking to a non-systemd distribution.
Thus far, I only see movement in opposite direction.


Why? I never said it was the wrong decision, it's most likely the right one as I had mentioned below. Systemd *has* its merits (a phrase you seem to have missed from my post) but it's not a volunteer based effort and it's becoming the default in Debian because no other projects has the economical resources to take on a commercial entity such as RedHat. That doesn't compare to something like the traditional discussion about which software is better in the FOSS community. Simply put, there's no alternative and that's why it's being chosen.

Again, you fail to explain what stops the million of oppressed anti-systemd developers and users from forking the latest non-systemd distribution and going on, on their separate way?


Huh? I never mentioned oppressed non-systemd distributions. Personally I'm using Fedora which has been using systemd for a while. Did my mention of systemd being a paid-for commercial effort just like MacOS X or Windows somehow hurt your feelings for it? You seem to be overreacting.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: A cople of comments.
by Finalzone on Thu 6th Nov 2014 07:44 in reply to "RE: A cople of comments."
Finalzone Member since:
2005-07-06

That's because systemd is fundamentally a RedHat technology. It's free, the source's available, etc... but the majority of the development is done by paid RedHat employees and decisions on its direction are taken by RedHat employees.

Systemd was started as personal project by a Red Hat employee and Novell/Suse employee who will be later hired by Red Hat in their own spare time to address the shortcoming of Upstart mainly due to Canonical hostile Clause Licensing Agreement (Very similar to OpenOffice under SUN and later Oracle).
https://plus.google.com/+KaySievers/posts/C3chC26khpq

During its early stage, an Arch contributor and other industry from GENEVI, Tizen, Jolla will add their contributions and the project moved to freedesktop.org host. Systemd was never hosted on Red Hat website.

There's no way a pure volunteer-based effort can take on that both for lack of resources and for inability to make an impact (suppose that a new, better init system came out, do you think RedHat would take it in its distro after having sunk that much money and time into systemd development and education for their userbase?).

Add the adoption from embedded industry from Angstrom to GENEVI via Tizen from both Samsung and Intel. Over 500 contributions show systemd is hardly Red Hat project.

So I find unsurprising that part of Debian's userbase is unhappy with the choice. They weren't really given the choice - as in, it lived alongside other init systems for a while and was overwhelmingly preferred by users over alternatives.


Looking at the systemd mailing list, some of features and conventions came straight from Debian contributors themselves like /etc/os-release and /etc/hostname. Systemd contributors active participations to one Debian convention were a clear example.
Sysvint is a walking dead never designed to fully take advantage of Linux. OpenRC still relies on bash scripts, Upstart was fundamentally flawed by design as pointed out by its original creator and its CLA did not help the cause. kFreeBSD and Hurd are virtually experiment considering their usage so portability is very irrelevant.

It's a RedHat technology that's been introduced in RedHat, or RedHat-sponsored distributions because RedHat management decided that it was the best option for them and now it's becoming Debian's default by virtue of other pieces of software having significant dependencies on it[...]

It is a sum of over 500 contributons including Arch, Debian, Ubuntu, Open Suse, Jolla, Gentoo, Tizen and more.

Edited 2014-11-06 07:51 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: A cople of comments.
by crystall on Thu 6th Nov 2014 14:16 in reply to "RE[2]: A cople of comments."
crystall Member since:
2007-02-06

Add the adoption from embedded industry from Angstrom to GENEVI via Tizen from both Samsung and Intel. Over 500 contributions show systemd is hardly Red Hat project.

Let's be intellectually honest, shall we? Grep'ing systemd's git log shows >80% of contributions coming from RedHat employees. There might be more as I didn't bother to track down all RedHat employees not using their professional e-mail addresses but it shows a project that is predominantly directed and developed by RedHat. You'd be naive to think that its future direction wasn't approved by RedHat's management. Contributions from the entities you mentioned above are a few tens of commits over a total of >17k. That's not even counting the size of those contributions by line changes which are likely to even more overwhelmingly favor RedHat.

Looking at the systemd mailing list, some of features and conventions came straight from Debian contributors themselves like /etc/os-release and /etc/hostname. Systemd contributors active participations to one Debian convention were a clear example.

I can count tens of commits from Debian contributors and in many cases they're the bare minimum to adapt a very RedHat-centric design to work on a different distribution.

It is a sum of over 500 contributons including Arch, Debian, Ubuntu, Open Suse, Jolla, Gentoo, Tizen and more.

You can repeat that as many time as you want. It doesn't change the fact that the project is largely a RedHat one. The data readily available in the repository shows a completely different picture than your quote.

To drive another couple of points: systemd has practically zero penetration in the embedded market. The predominant startup system for Linux-derived embedded uses is Android's 'init' which can be arguably considered even more primitive than simpler alternatives such as openrc. That's just to show how much the embedded market cares about systemd.

Second note: my primary distribution has been Fedora since version 8 IIRC which means I've been using systemd on my primary machine for as long as I can remember. It boots fast, it provides relatively easy tools to manage what little changes need to be done in a desktop's startup procedure and it only gave me a couple issues. I'm fine with it. I don't like certain choices they made but they're not hard to change via configuration & helpers. I'm fine with it. Does this make it any less RedHat-centric? No, and that's why the user-base of a volunteer-based effort such as a Debian's is resisting this kind of change.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: A cople of comments.
by hobgoblin on Thu 6th Nov 2014 18:25 in reply to "RE[2]: A cople of comments."
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

Funny how so much of systemd's recent feature creep has to do with what is to be a business focus for RH going forward: cloud computing.

Various other "features" seems to also fit in the DoD's "trusted computing" concept.

Edited 2014-11-06 18:26 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: A cople of comments.
by Odae on Fri 7th Nov 2014 11:20 in reply to "RE: A cople of comments."
Odae Member since:
2014-11-07

How is this different from how it is with the kernel, xorg or other big projects. Almost every kernel dev with influence works for "The Linux foundation", Red hat, google or another big company.

Reply Parent Score: 3