To Systemd Or Not To Systemd. That Is The Question

I’ve been reading of the struggle between Red Hat and Canonical over changing the nature of the GNU/Linux operating system. Until now, we’ve mostly done things in a manner similar to UNIX System V init processes. It works. It’s been improved a bit over the years with some parallelism. Why change?

Well, it seems Red Hat, the biggest and baddest GNU/Linux company wants “systemd” for a lot of good reasons and Canonical, the next biggest and baddest GNU/Linux company wants something else, called “upstart”. It’s on the verge of being a civil war with multiple factions: those who want to stay as they are, those that want systemd and those that want upstart. I’ve read that systemd intrudes into just about everything so it might be a lot of work to migrate. I know Canonical wants to call the tune for GNU/Linux desktops and I resent that.

So, I did a little test. I have a virtual machine running Debian GNU/Linux “jessie” testing packages. I use it to run the newest version of Gnumeric (because I like the SVG charts/graphs). I apt-get installed everything systemd in Debian’s repository, just 7.5MB of disk space and the damned thing worked immediately after I rebooted. To my surprise booting took half the time of the SYSV method. I’m OK with that. Also, my network mounts and Gnumeric worked exactly as before as did my SSH setup. I have read that there are advantages for security as well and better control by administrators. I’m OK with that. Let them figure out the details…

All in all, I’m leaning to systemd. At least my minimal test worked and caused me no pain. As long as Red Hat doesn’t try to force me to use RPM again, I’m fine with that.

see Lennart Poettering’s blog all about systemd. If he improves GNU/Linux, speeds up booting and doesn’t break my system, he’s my hero. 😉

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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10 Responses to To Systemd Or Not To Systemd. That Is The Question

  1. Finalzone says:

    Robert Pogson,
    Fair enough.
    Consumer desktops are diffiicult to promote thanks in part to Microsoft for bribing the manufacturers, the manufacturers themselves to abid to the pressures, the corruption within legal system i.e. abuse of software patent in United States of America and the lack of educations to ordinary users. Sorry for the off-topic, I was only addressing the mistakes related to systemd.

  2. finalzone wrote, “That shows your own blindness and hostility when it comes to anything with either that company or its employees. “

    I am not hostile to RedHat. They have saved my bacon many times: supporting LTSP when I first used that technology, providing a nice desktop, Fedora GNU/Linux when I was working in very hostile territory, and once, even providing ancient archives with which I was able to install on 15 year old hardware… So, I know RedHat is a valuable member of the FLOSS community, one that puts its money where its mouth is. Still, I have often seen companies turn against the community and cause lots of trouble. Being dependent on any single company is dangerous. e.g. Caldera, Novell, and of course, M$, all have had huge negative influences. RedHat, as far as I know has never done anything against the FLOSS community, except perhaps not promoting the desktop lately, but they could. They are a major contributor to the Linux kernel and they have fixed a hell of a lot of bugs in Linux and other software and shared those fixes. Unlike IBM which lately seems neutral in the OS wars, RedHat is definitely in our corner.

  3. finalzone says:

    I am disappointed of your statement about systemd being Red Hat project, it is a community project. If you did a good research, you realized systemd has tremendous contributions from organizations, individuals and group having nothing to do with Red Hat. That shows your own blindness and hostility when it comes to anything with either that company or its employees.

    Upstart day is done, Canonical desperately holds on its because it is their own project knowing it does not stand a chance against the rising systemd that passed initd passed long time ago. I would call upstart the XFree86 of init.

  4. finalzone says:

    systemd is a community ( project started by Lennart Poettering and Kay Sievers who worked for Novell back then.
    OpenRC is essentially sysV on steroid still inheriting its biggest flaw.
    Recent revelation concerning upstart leading to the creation of systemd:

    Canonical CLA. From Sievers post on G+:

    True statement. And yeah, without the CLA, we would very likely have worked on upstart, instead of starting the systemd project. Four years ago we talked to lawyers and tried pretty hard to convince them to give it up, but there was no way to negotiate.

    Today, I very much enjoy the fact that this is a good example what you do to your project or company if you try to skew the free software playing field too much with tricky contracts. You just get what you build, an/your island.

  5. oiaohm says:

    ssorbom systemd still uses cgroups around sysv init scripts when in compatibility mode. Yes systemd has advantages even just feed sysv init scripts. cgroups allow you to have a list of every process started by a particular init script and be sure they are all shutdown.

    sysv init biggest flaw is no alignment between script and the processes started from it.

    ram redhat formally has argued for UEFI keys and firmware parts to be in the hands of end users. Ubuntu has not.

  6. Mats Hagglund says:

    What about “upstart”. Does it give any “added value” to Linux? Booting faster? Security? Stability? I would like to know how corporates like Google see this struggle.

  7. ram says:

    I don’t trust either RedHat or Ubuntu. Both of them put in security faults by DESIGN. This probably has to do where they get a major chunk of their funding. Also note both RedHat and Ubuntu use UEFI — another piece of spyware. Figure it out folks!

  8. rudregues says:

    Debian will adopt by default systemd, they didn’t decided yet, but I’m quite sure. Hope I can still using OpenRC in the future. It works, is very simple and not affected by RedHat’s politics.

  9. ssorbom says:

    I was initially a bit skeptical of systemd because of the “intrusive changes” factor, but the more I read about systemd, the more I liked it.
    If we go with the multiple init systems approach, I could see this being a real headache for package maintainers. What if a particular package depends on features in systemd that aren’t in upstart, or vice versa?
    My gut says they will default back to sysV compatability layer. But if that is the case, what advantage do you get in changing? Won’t you just re-inherit sysVinit’s flaws?

  10. Agent_Smith says:

    Hold your horses, Rob.

    Problem of systemd is not technical, it’s political: Are you going to put all your eggs in systemd (and RH’s) basket ?
    I for one, advocate that it doesn’t become the Sauron’s ring of daemons, and, for that matter, I find equally interesting we have choice also in init systems.
    So, I’m for Openrc, Upstart and systemd.
    If you need systemd, use it. If you need upstart, use it, if you need openrc… You got the idea.

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