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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

samzenpus posted about a month ago | from the picking-a-team dept.

Linux 826

snydeq writes The battle over systemd exposes a fundamental gap between the old Unix guard and a new guard of Linux developers and admins, writes Deep End's Paul Venezia. "Last week I posted about the schism brewing over systemd and the curiously fast adoption of this massive change to many Linux distributions. If there's one thing that systemd does extremely well, it is to spark heated discussions that devolve into wild, teeth-gnashing rants from both sides. Clearly, systemd is a polarizing subject. If nothing else, that very fact should give one pause. Fundamental changes in the structure of most Linux distributions should not be met with such fervent opposition. It indicates that no matter how reasonable a change may seem, if enough established and learned folks disagree with the change, then perhaps it bears further inspection before going to production. Clearly, that hasn't happened with systemd."

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snydeq = InfoWorld (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750171)

Why should we even bother with this? Is there anything to this notion AT ALL, or is this clickbait?

My opinion on the matter. (3, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a month ago | (#47750173)

Who really needs systemd?

It may provide some features not previously existing, but it also breaks a lot of stuff that people "knew" were there.

Re:My opinion on the matter. (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about a month ago | (#47750409)

> Fundamental changes in the structure of most Linux distributions should not be met with such fervent opposition.

Sure it should. At the very least, such sweeping changes should be met with some skepticism based purely on mundane ideas about change control. Why are changes with such a massive impact being considered? What is being done to mitigate risks? How is this going to impact how Linux fits in with other Unixen?

What's broken exactly?

Re:My opinion on the matter. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47750649)

What's broken is that some people would rather change Linux into something else fundamentally, rather than wait for the rest of the world to catch up. The result is going to be the same kind of pain that's happening in the browser arena. There, you have reasonable standards bodies who move "too slowly" for a few, who wish to replace the web with a new version that's obviously even more flawed, all in the name of progress. Sometimes the old guard aren't just holding back progress, but don't tell that to inexperienced youths and bitter old men who want to make a name for themselves.

Re:My opinion on the matter. (4, Insightful)

loony (37622) | about a month ago | (#47750411)

Who cares if you have to relearn stuff? Its the fact that systemd is less than stable... In many cases, you end up with corrupt binary log file after a crash, have services that don't (run a process that does heavy syslogging to the tune of 25-30K messages per second. Yes, its bad app design but come on - this thing worked for years and now its suddenly broken???) that used to work just fine before and then top it off with really braindead configuration options (go ahead and change the pgsql listen port - and see how long it takes you...)

I'm all for systemd - once its been stable for a while, but till then it would be nice to have at least a choice...


Re:My opinion on the matter. (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about a month ago | (#47750493)

> Who cares if you have to relearn stuff?

Anyone that uses something besides Linux. One great thing about Unixen is how they share common interfaces. The more you change that, the less interchangeable the various Unixen become. The more reason their will be to resist moving from one to another.

This is something that has benefited Linux greatly in the past: the fact that a Solaris user could feel fairly comfortable with picking up Linux and just dive in.

The anti-dinosaur sentiment should not be an excuse to blindly and gratuitously change things just because of "new shiny shiny".

All of your substantive complaints seem to be a direct result of ignoring the principle "don't fix what isn't broken".

Re:My opinion on the matter. (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about three weeks ago | (#47750635)

However Linux has shone from time to time that it was able to push Traditional Unix systems to switch to their method of doing things.

However the real question is what is the benefits vs cost of the change.
How will that affect GNU/Linux primary purpose (Server OS).

Re:My opinion on the matter. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750529)

Much like pulseaudio, it will probably become quite good when Lennart stops working on it and hands it over to someone else to maintain.

Re:My opinion on the matter. (2)

mysidia (191772) | about three weeks ago | (#47750613)

(go ahead and change the pgsql listen port - and see how long it takes you...)

vi /var/lib/pgsql/data/9.3/postgresql.conf

^] :%s/^#port = 5432/port = 1234/
semanage port -a -t postgresql_port_t -p tcp 1234
iptables -I INPUT -p tcp --dport 1234 -j ACCEPT
/usr/libexec/iptables.init save
systemctl restart postgresql

Was that so hard?

So sorry that even with iptables-save installed and the new systemctl firewalld turned off... "service iptables save" command has disabled so suddenly, even though it's been used in Redhat for over 15 years.
Yeah... you now have to deal with 'iptables-save > /etc/sysconfig/iptables' or manually finding where the service script's been moved to be able to invoke the save verb which used to be a short 3-word one liner command, But this is "progress".

Re:My opinion on the matter. (5, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | about three weeks ago | (#47750683)

Was that so hard?

Hey, guess what? I did that, and it didn't work.

Hint: you missed at least one more place where you have to change the port number.

Re:My opinion on the matter. (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a month ago | (#47750413)

Wow, that really makes systemd detractors seem like lazy people with no interest in advancing their knowledge or skill set.

I don't think that's the case at all. I think, for a lot of people, they don't have the challanges that systemd solves.

Also, it challanges a lot of sacred cows that people hold dear to them. You see kind of a religeous attachment to certain ideas, that is tough to give up, even when presented with a system that provides a different model of working. Then you get this whole game of analogy making. Everyone hates X, so lets compare this thing I don't like to X. Even thought its obviously very different from X.

Re:My opinion on the matter. (2)

present_arms (848116) | about a month ago | (#47750509)

Everyone hates X, so lets compare this thing I don't like to X. Even thought its obviously very different from X.

The difference being is that X is the best windowing system for versatility, nothing else from anywhere is close as bad as it is. There was nothing really wrong with system V the idea of systemd in the beginning was to shave a few seconds off booting to a desktop, and us linux users hardly ever have to boot in the first place (for most, not all I admit, it's nicer to put the machine in to sleep or hibernate.).

Re:My opinion on the matter. (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about three weeks ago | (#47750605)

Everyone hates X, so lets compare this thing I don't like to X. Even thought its obviously very different from X.

A few loud-mouths hate X. Most people who use X don't even know it exists. Those who use X the way it was designed (i.e. network transparency) can't understand why the loudmouths want to throw that away to build something like Windows, when Windows is dying.

Re:My opinion on the matter. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about three weeks ago | (#47750629)

Also, it challanges a lot of sacred cows that people hold dear to them. You see kind of a religeous attachment to certain ideas, that is tough to give up, even when presented with a system that provides a different model of working

Very well put. In any group of humans you have the conservatives and the liberals (in the true political sense, not the f*ed up media representations). The conservatives protect us from going off half-cocked and the liberals prevent us from stagnating.

The thing is, people have been trying to replace SYSV init for twenty years. Upstart, Makefile-based systems, etc. - it's not a very new idea. The big distro maintainers feel systemd has finally become more viable than SYSV init.

I bemoan some of the loss in flexibility (I still run an rc.local almost everywhere, even under systemd) but since nobody ever succeeded in making SYSV init fast, it's probably a case of the pendulum swinging just a little bit too far the other way.

Somebody will graft node.js or go or [that redhat thing that's almost a good scripting language] to systemd and then we'll be back towards the middle but better off.

Re:My opinion on the matter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47750701)

Hipsters(Rust) vs Greybeards(Asm or C);Con vs Con debate!

Re:My opinion on the matter. (1)

Arkh89 (2870391) | about a month ago | (#47750455)

So what you are saying is that all the people working on distributions such as Arch, Debian, Fedora, Mageia, openSUSE, RHEL, Ubuntu and possibly others, know nothing about how to choose components to make their "OS" work?

If yes, please develop.

Re:My opinion on the matter. (4, Informative)

thaylin (555395) | about three weeks ago | (#47750611)

In at least some cases the change as made because they have a dependency and that dependency will now only support systemd. Fedora/RHEL have a personal bias as they were the ones who developed systemd

Re:My opinion on the matter. (1)

IamLarryboy (176442) | about a month ago | (#47750513)

"Who really needs systemd?"

Much has been said about the numerous drawbacks of systemd. My question then is why are we seeing a near universal switch? It seems almost every distro is moving to systemd in fairly short order. Why do they do so? Surely dozens of distros each independently evaluating systemd and deciding to switch must be finding *something* compelling!

Re:My opinion on the matter. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750531)

Basically we *need* something like systemd, which is why it's gaining ground. It's providing a lot of sorely-needed features, efficiency, and cleanup in a ton of areas. The are a handful primary meta-downsides that cause all the teeth-gnashing can be summarized as follows (all of which are avoidable in theory...):

1) The developers are often uncooperative assholes - True of many projects in the OSS world, sadly. Generally not a deal-breaker when everything else is fine, but it really exacerbates problems with the other points below.

2) Emacs Syndrome - systemd has begun to be the kitchen sink of Linux. They're adopting a philosophy that anything anything which touches/interacts with systemd and doesn't work for them (doesn't fit their new radical model) should be re-written into compliance, and since too many of the authors of these non-compliant projects are also systemd grumblers, the project has taken to the habit of rewriting these components themselves and making them a part of systemd. Thus systemd's scope has grown tremendously, and it's bundling a ton of risk into a single meta-package. Even things as far removed as NTP functionality are now rolling into systemd (did you know systemd is trying to replace ntpd?).

3) Reinventing APIs radically - The big case here is the basic OS interfaces for networked daemons. For a traditional *nix daemon, this means the collection of POSIX-y system calls that deal with things like privilege management, daemonization, logging, socket binding, etc. The systemd model tries to replace all of this with declarative service configuration files which set all of this up from outside the daemon before it's launched, allowing it to focus on merely processing socket traffic. Think of this as a much more advanced variant of the inetd model. The problems with this approach are three-fold (and you'll see examples of these problems in other areas of systemd as well):

3a) They haven't mirrored every possible legitimate use of the old POSIX-y syscall API in the new declarative configuration. In little ways this means things like not supporting every socket option in the normal socket APIs. In big ways, this means more complex behavior patterns. For example, a traditional *nix daemon might be capable of managing its daemonization in an advanced way with the flexibility of the POSIX APIs (e.g. allowing a controlled 'restart' behavior for reducing downtime that starts a new daemon overlapped with the old one and uses some IPC to coordinate the handoff of live sockets, etc). Systemd's declarative model is far more limited in scope and can't possibly map to all of these creatively-beneficial uses of POSIX behaviors. Also, a full conversion of a system to systemd doesn't work well with just leaving some daemons as traditional sysv-init style, and the long course is to get rid of sysv init compatibility completely. This really screws these cases.

3b) It introduces a new latency in exposing new APIs. Before if, say, a new socket option appeared that was useful to a daemon, it first appeared in the kernel, then later in glibc, at which point it's at least conditionally available in a reasonable manner to portable (among linux versions/variants) software. Now we must wait for it to hit the kernel, then glibc, then systemd, and only then can the application take advantage of the feature. Who's coordinating this the way that kernel/glibc APIs are coordinated? This stuff isn't even documented.

3c) In general, while they minimally accommodate server-side daemon software, most of the development focus of systemd is for the desktop user's use-case. Thus these APIs aren't well-thought-out for the server-like case, and the concerns of authors of that sort of software are not being taken very seriously (see point 1). However, the distros which have all (how the hell?) been convinced it's a good idea to move their whole distro to systemd in the long run will obviously be using the same init system in both cases. I know we all want some year to be the Year of the Linux Desktop, but don't sacrifice the server market to make it happen! If this situation gets bad enough, we could see a serious movement of Linux datacenter operations over to saner and more-traditional options like FreeBSD (or at least, to new Linux distros that will spring up in competition to e.g. Debuntu/RhentOS and offer a non-systemd option for serious server deployments).

4) systemd, in spite of seeming to want to completely encapsulate or replace large swaths of well-regulated APIs from POSIX, doesn't seem to have any real version control, changelogging, or version/feature -querying capabilities to manage compatibility of this new pseudo-API. Even if you put some systemd-specific code in your daemons and link systemd libraries, there's no call to query the running systemd implementation for its version to know what set of features and bugs you might be running your code against. When a new serial number of systemd is released, there's no concise and explicit list of exactly which API elements have changed in incompatible ways. For that matter, there's no real hardcore, versioned documentation of these APIs at all. What they have is slightly better than doxygen'd header files that just change randomly at developer whims, like the API of some shitty low-popularity node.js project on Github or something. This is not at adequate way to manage a major interface trying to supplant and/or encapsulate large chunks of POSIX in common use!

5) Total disregard for everything outside of Linux, forcing application developers to either jump through many extra hoops to support portability across *nix in general (which used to not be all that hard) plus separate code for the new Linux/systemd behemoth as if it were a very different platform (and it is). These things should have been developed as a portable standard (if not also a portable implementation) so that we could share these innovations with e.g. the *BSDs. Not because we love them, but because we don't want to piss off daemon authors that have to cope endlessly with a new kind of incompatibility in supposedly-portable code.

Re:My opinion on the matter. (5, Insightful)

LVSlushdat (854194) | about a month ago | (#47750539)

Who really needs systemd?

I've been working with Linux since 1995, where I started with Slackware, moved over to Redhat until it went all "enterprise-y", at which time I moved to Fedora.. Stayed there till a friend turned me on to Ubuntu in 2007, where I stayed pretty much till the recent Unity shitfest over there, where I then moved to Debian.. I cut my teeth on /etc/init.d and a stock standard init() process.. I could do pretty anything I needed to do in troubleshooting/starting/stopping daemons from memory.. Can't remember the last time I consulted a man page regarding anything having to with init() or logging.. Now with this $#@$%%$#@ systemd, I have manpages up ALL the time just to do simple shit that I could do with init() and standard logging in my sleep before systemd. It also seems like this crap is spreading like sewage over pretty much of the standard distros.. Debian/Fedora/CentOS.. The only one I'm somewhat familiar with (haven't used it recently) is Slackware and from what I've heard Patrick and the devs over there feel the same way I do about systemd.... Maybe its time to revisit an old friend.....

Re:My opinion on the matter. (4, Interesting)

CajunArson (465943) | about three weeks ago | (#47750615)

TL;DR version: You spend around 20 years getting used to the old way of doing it and now you can't stand change.

My story: Been using Linux heavily since 2000. Arch adopted Systemd big-time in 2013 or so. I spent a little while learning the new commands, and now it's just as easy/hard/whatever as the old RC system was. Oh, but my boot times are way shorter than they used to be.

Re:My opinion on the matter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47750641)


Re:My opinion on the matter. (2)

eneville (745111) | about three weeks ago | (#47750575)

Boot up performance is one of the things in its favour. For that alone many people will want it rightnow so there's a lumbering mass gravitating to distros that implement. I for one welcome our new systemd overlord, not because I like it, but because I like the boot performance.

Re:My opinion on the matter. (4, Informative)

psergiu (67614) | about three weeks ago | (#47750617)

Systemd's strenghts are:
- Fast startup & shutdown (compared to sysVinit);
- Better on-demand loading and stopping services and processes and changing network settings.

Compared with all the problem it brings:

- That is useful on a tablet or phone - where you never have to modify the factory configuration;
- A bit useful on a laptop - if you only use GUI tools that can do a limited ammount of config editing for you;
- Not very usefullon a desktop - unless you are prepared to get your hands dirty with systemD's smelly and poorly-documented guts;
- Useless on a server - where you only reboot 4 times a year or so and never have to hot-plug anything or change wireless networks.

For a server situation, the BSDrc style startup is even better than sysVinit.

Re:My opinion on the matter. (5, Insightful)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about three weeks ago | (#47750699)

This is the problem with systemd, Gnome 3 and a lot of other recent stuff.

Unix was originally designed rather like a tinkertoy set. The individual parts might not be very smart, but you could glue them together however you wanted. A "RISC" architecture, if you will.

Recent "improvements" to Linux have attempted to be all-in-one solutions. By making them one-size-fits-all, you lose useful, important, sometimes critical functionality. Because no one system can be all things to all people. It's a "CISC" solution, and what you are left with is what the designed wanted you to have, not what you wanted to have.

So that's the Great Divide. Turn into another Apple, where you can have any solution you want as long as it's the one the providers want to give you or retain the original spirt of the system, and allow it to be powerful at the expense of the presumed masses who'd gladly chuck Windows if only Linux was more friendly to the casual user.

Fork SystemD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750191)

The Lone Ranger Linux Distro...

at least we have our pride guy

Re:Fork SystemD (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a month ago | (#47750263)

Indeed. Civilized nerds don't fight; they fork. (God won't let us fork the Middle East, unfortunately.)

Re:Fork SystemD (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a month ago | (#47750371)

Oh I think people have been forking the middle east for quite some time.

Re:Fork SystemD (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about a month ago | (#47750389)

It's "forked up", if that's what you mean.

My distro is better than your distro (3, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about a month ago | (#47750197)

And THAT pretty much sums up what has always held Linux back (and probably always will).

My distro is better than your distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750287)

My opinion is the correct opinion. No matter how much logic or rationale you can bring to the table, you will never be right.

Re:My distro is better than your distro (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about a month ago | (#47750315)

My opinion is that my opinion is false.

Re:My distro is better than your distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750545)

Opinions are never "right" - once they are "right" they are facts and no longer opinions.

Re:My distro is better than your distro (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a month ago | (#47750295)

Well, that and [insert terribly generic nerd joke here]

Some free nerd "jokes" if you can't come up with any
*"It's hard to market from your moms basement"
*"The overpowering body odor"
*" 'Kill JarJar' isn't a big selling point"

Not in this instance (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a month ago | (#47750321)

And THAT pretty much sums up what has always held Linux back (and probably always will).

Except this is not really a problem with the exception of Slackware and Gentoo two obvious holdouts ...and if you use those distributions you know why.(Go on read the wikipedia on systemd it has some great quotes).

all these distros use systemd - Arch Linux, CoreOS, Debian GNU/Linux(Default for Debian 8 "jessie"),Fedora, Frugalware Linux, Mageia, NixOS, openSUSE,
Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Sabayon, Ubuntu(Coming). The deal is done.

Oh FYI Linux overtook windows back in 2013 is quite well know.

Re:Not in this instance (-1, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | about a month ago | (#47750439)

No it didn't. Android did. GNU/Linux is still pretty irrelevant outside of cheap servers (nothing wrong with cheap servers, I use them myself). There is no Linux Desktop market share to be worth discussing.

All of the distros you listed combined add up to 'doesn't matter on the desktop' and most of what makes Android useful on a phone isn't the kernel either, they could almost as easily run it on NetBSD.

There certainly is very little other than 'fanboy' that keeps people on Linux, there are alternatives that are competitive.

Re:Not in this instance (3, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | about three weeks ago | (#47750587)

> GNU/Linux is still pretty irrelevant outside of cheap server

Linux is the flagship platform for a leading enterprise software vendor that sells their product for 60K per CPU.

One single server installation of their product can cost more then your domicile. This is true regardless of where you live or what kind of structure you live in.

Linux isn't just "relegated to cheap servers".

Re:Not in this instance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47750711)

Funny how Slackware and Gentoo are my two favorite distros....

I'm also against systemd personally. Too little server focus to replace standards.

Gentoo is my main desktop/laptop/work OS. Nothing beats it for a developer needing to freeze specific library versions while rolling the rest of the system forward. No other distro makes that very easy where as in Gentoo it's a package.mask edit and done.

Plus I do weird stuff like swap gcc for icc (paid license) and build my system/kernel with a totally different compiler, without losing critical updates in an automated fashion. Gentoo rocks for power users. Slackware rocks for embedded systems where I want to speed up the boot process by hand-editing the shell init scripts. Otherwise Gentoo eclipses my Slackware use cases and brings less pain than pkgtool or manual dependency resolution in Slackware by googling whatever .so it can't load next.

Previously used Slackware first, then Debian, then Ubuntu (until Unity, then I realized they weren't trustworthy) and then fell in love with FreeBSD and came back to Linux looking for something similar which led to Gentoo. And Gentoo is perfect even to this day. I love it :)

Screw up Gentoo/Slackware and I'll move to FreeBSD.

Re:My distro is better than your distro (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a month ago | (#47750397)

If you really want to get technical, Linux in general is not really 'old guard' UNIX and never has been. Well, okay, Linux may be, but GNU/Linux not so much.

GNU is a bastardization of SysV at best, and breaks all sorts of things that would work on most SysVs that came before it.

To pretend Linux has an 'old guard' is a joke in and of itself. Anyone acting like they're 'old school' UNIX based on Linux is doing nothing more than what you say, 'my Linux is better than your Linux'

Stop pretending GNU/Linux is UNIX. It isn't. Its a UNIX-a-like-but-only-just.

Re:My distro is better than your distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750437)

Why? Choice is good. I run 7 or 8 distros at home. And they're all better than yours!

Re:My distro is better than your distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750535)


Because a disorganized army always loses.

can't go back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750207)

yeah we lost all our old code so we can never back out our mistakes

P=NP (0)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about a month ago | (#47750257)

Is this controversy anything like the P=NP debate?

Re:P=NP (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750401)

P and NP can be verified given enough resources. systemd can not.

Slow news day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750267)

Dont feed the Troll

What divide? Use it or don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750271)

It's not like anyone is FORCING you to use it if you don't want to, a la M$ Windows 8 "features"

Re:What divide? Use it or don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750487)

It's not like anyone is FORCING you to use it if you don't want to, a la M$ Windows 8 "features"

Huh? Since most distributions have already or plan to switch over to it, it becomes very difficult to avoid it, even if it's not actually impossible. Yes, you can use an old distribution or switch to one of the fewer and fewer distros which don't use it, but you can keep using older versions of Windows too.

Re:What divide? Use it or don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47750553)

"but you can keep using older versions of Windows too." No, you really cannot.

Display server (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about a month ago | (#47750275)

I believe versus Wayland would be another pair bridging the old and new Linux world.

Re:Display server (4, Insightful)

psergiu (67614) | about a month ago | (#47750399)

As long as xterm & the web browser are running on Wayland, nobody will complain. has became such a mess itself (compared to the old XFree86) so anything smaller, simpler, faster and 100% compatible is welcome.

OTOH systemD is not smaller, simpler and 100% compatible with the systemV init and BSD rc - so it requires everybody relearning a lot of concepts for scratch just to gain 4-5 seconds at boot time - unsually on a server that you reboot only a couple of times a year.

Re:Display server (1)

pla (258480) | about a month ago | (#47750473)

I believe versus Wayland would be another pair bridging the old and new Linux world.

The very fact that you would equate the battle over a display server with the battle over the granddaddy of all running processes puts you so far into the "new Linux" camp that you can't even see the border. I don't mean that insultingly, just a statement of fact.


Re:Display server (0)

NotInHere (3654617) | about three weeks ago | (#47750551) people themselfes admit wayland is better. consists of lots of bloated stuff from the 1980s, where all modern support (OpenGL, you name it) is patched in through "extensions". Network transparency in X is also a big problem, there is the choice between using 1980s APIs and shuffling pixels around. X is broken. Do you see any disadvantages of wayland?

Re:Display server (2, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about three weeks ago | (#47750637)

Do you see any disadvantages of wayland?

Uh, let's see. Right now I'm running two copies of Eclipse from a VM, displaying on the host machine's desktop using X-forwarding. Under Wayland, that'll require either pushing megabytes of pixels every time I scroll a window, or using some god-awful VNC crap.

Oh, but the desktop is dead, etc, etc and we'll all be doing software development on phones in future.

Re:Display server (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about three weeks ago | (#47750597)

X itself is useable and was not the issue. The problems were with drivers were due to the lack of drivers, and problems with the device dependant layer (such as lack of auto configuration of drivers or when auto configuration of drivers screwed up) rather than with X itself. These problems would continue no matter what window system was used, because it was not a window system problem, it was a problem with drivers. Wayland mainly solves some slught issues with visual artifacts, as far as I am aware, by addressing issues with vertical synchronization. An X extension could have been created to address these concerns by allowing X applications a clue as to the frequency and timing of vertical synchronization and a double buffering facility that could be used by apps to update their screen contents.

Only in the open source community ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750293)

Only in the open source community would people that think it is perfectly fine having to compile drivers every time a kernel gets a .1 update throw a tantrum because of a honest improvement that comes with new distributions, and just because "it breaks things". Jeeez.

Re:Only in the open source community ... (0)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about a month ago | (#47750451)

It would be trivial to add a dynamic loader, or if necesary a simple compatability layer for a stable ABI, to the kernel so that old drivers will work fine.The only reason they don't is that Linux developers are anti-social and basically like the idea of Linux being unuseable to most average people, because it makes themselves feel elite to be able to use something that is so difficult to manage. Yes, Linux needs a dynamic loader or compatability layer for drivers, but try telling that to kernel developers who are off in their own world where average people can be expected to learn to love editing configuration files. Most people are not interested in that stuff, they just want to use their computer to get work done and get off, not muck around with recompiling drivers and editing configuration files.

Re:Only in the open source community ... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about three weeks ago | (#47750655)

> Only in the open source community would people that think it is perfectly fine having to compile drivers every time a kernel gets a .1 update

Must be a FreeBSD thing since this is a solved problem in Linux.

You need to update your FUD playbook. It's out of date.

Still on (2)

present_arms (848116) | about a month ago | (#47750297)

System V scripts here and don't plan to change, even if my distro does, if it gets infected with systemd then I'll change distros. It really is as simple as that. Unless something goes horribly wrong there is always slackware, which as I recall not only still uses system V but still uses LILO to boot, and long may it do so :D.

Slackware Forever (Me Too!) (1)

turgid (580780) | about a month ago | (#47750403)

Slackware does things The Right Way(TM). I've been using it since 1995 as my main distro with a brief detour into SLAMD64 in 2007 when I bought a 64-bit AMD and Slackware was still x86-32.

I've had the misfortune to have to suffer Debian. RedHat/CentOS, Ubuntu and Arago for work over the years, but Slackware is the best. Everything I've learned from Slackware has empowered me to be productive with all of those other distributions.

Re:Still on (4, Informative)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about a month ago | (#47750499)

Systemd still supports the system V boot process features, you can still run init scripts from systemd if you wish.

Choosing Sides (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month ago | (#47750305)

I don't have a pony in this race. Don't know much about it. But the title says I gotta choose a side, and from the looks of things the new guard is winning, at least with this systemd thingy, so I'll go with them. GO NG GO!

You stupid sonofabitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750387)

You clearly don't know anything. Systemd screws up everything. I'm pretty sure it gave my sister herpes.

Re:Choosing Sides (5, Informative)

present_arms (848116) | about a month ago | (#47750425)

What system V and systemd do is initialise the OS, let me kinda explain, you turn on your pc, it loads the bootloader which in turn loads the init system, the init's systems job is to hand off certain jobs to certain programs, getty so you have cli, X so you have a nice GUI, and starts or stops services. This is a very simplistic explanation. Now it's my belief that Init should be made with separate components, for instance system V will read the scripts from /etc/rc.d and depending on those scripts depends what's loaded at boot time. Now the problem with systemd is (from what I believe) is that it's a one-stop for all, encompassing all the scripts needed, and gaining bloat (mostly not needed) at the same time. It's starting to be the "registry" of the linux world. and NO-ONE with a hint of intelligence wanted the Windows registry, let alone a clone of one.

Re:Choosing Sides (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about three weeks ago | (#47750663)

Very interesting. Thanks.

What is the "New guard" ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750317)

"Fundamentally, I think this exposes a separation of the Linux community: between those who were deep into Unix before Linux came on the scene and those who came later. I can't help but think that a number of younger developers and admins are missing key elements of how Unix-like systems were designed and how they functioned before, say, 1998" TFA seems to imply that because I'm young, I automatically have to love systemd and laugh at the so called unix philosophy. Like the world is just a big hiveming of "old reasonable and anti-systemd UNIX wizards" VS "them hipster kids who don't know better". Thanks, but no thanks. Some vocal minority of people wanting a ridiculously large PID 1 doesn't make it sane, and just because I wasn't there when UNIX was the big thing, doesn't mean that I can't learn from it or disagree with some of it's designs.

What battle? (2010 wants its article back?) (3, Informative)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a month ago | (#47750327)

At the moment, just about every major distribution except Slackware and Gentoo not only supports systemd, but ships with it on by default.

So...what "battle" are we talking about? (Or did this post just fall forward five years from the past?)

Re:What battle? (2010 wants its article back?) (2, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month ago | (#47750525)

At the moment, just about every major distribution except Slackware and Gentoo not only supports systemd, but ships with it on by default.

So...what "battle" are we talking about? (Or did this post just fall forward five years from the past?)

Ubuntu is the largest distro I know of and it doesn't support it by default.

But you're right, all the arguments I've read against it boil down to Linus hating on one of the developers on the project and/or "It's too complicated and unmanageable!" I've yet to read something I'd consider a valid argument against it. A bunch of neck beards yelling "Get off my lawn!" is not and argument I can get any value out of.

Re:What battle? (2010 wants its article back?) (1)

mysidia (191772) | about three weeks ago | (#47750665)

So...what "battle" are we talking about? (Or did this post just fall forward five years from the past?)

A highly coordinated sneak attack, where the victim was essentially asleep, until 3 or 4 months after the major release, they tried upgrading to it and suddenly found... WTF? All my shit be broke, and everything's suddenly changed across all my major systems.

Systemd + Grub2 + FirewallD = Triple Whammy

This is just a rant (3, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about a month ago | (#47750331)

This article is just a rant, full one one-liner insults and clichés. There are probably good debates on this topic, but this is not one of them.

systemd adds to and supports the old model (5, Informative)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about a month ago | (#47750341)

the general concept behind systemd makes sense, its mainly some additional features on top of the current model, such as the ability to have processes started on certain system events. The fact is, if you want your bootup process to be controlled by bash scripts, all you need to do is configure systemd to start your bash script and youve got a more traditional init system. So, systemd does not take away any functionality, only adds it. Systemd supports the system v init process features so you still have all the old model functionality available to you. So, it does not make much sense that people complain about this when they can easily configure things however they want, including having a BSD style init, by having systemd hand off control to your own scripts, including to work the way things always have. People act like systemd has taken away something when it has not, i think many people just hears some soundbite about systemd introducing a new model and assume that they can no longer use things the way they do currently, which is not the case. it seems like people who don't like systemd don't want people to have the additional functionality that it provides, because it does not take away anything. Its open source software, and its something that you can control and configure to your hearts content. Its much ado about nothing. systemd, while being configurable, also will make things easier to use for many users. I think the ado about systemd is more about Linux people who think that Linux should be hard to use except for a small elite and do not want the OS to be useful to less technically adept users. This is even though making it more useable for less adept users does not in any way harm or take away flexibility from experts, who can still configure everything if they want they want to.

Re:systemd adds to and supports the old model (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750421)

Also adds a lot of bloat and make a system more "dynamic" (read "unpredictable").

A complex, fragile, unmanageable TURD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750489)

The init process - whatever it is - has one job. Get things started.

SysV init didn't need more FEATURES - it merely needed (IMO) streamlining to obtain faster bootup.

The current systemd is what you get when a bunch of coders are left unsupervised - lots of "cool new features" that someone thought were "neat" and got to burnish their ego by coding, but that don't solve any real problem. And all at the cost of complexity and crazy dependencies.

It's a bloated turd in a punch bowl.

Re:A complex, fragile, unmanageable TURD (3, Interesting)

HiThere (15173) | about three weeks ago | (#47750695)

It actually did need more than just streamlining, e.g. it needed to use multiple processors if available. But systemd seems "a bridge too far". OTOH, I prever grub over either lilo or grub2. Grub gave me enough control and was easy enough to understand for the simple features I wanted to use. Grub2 is inintelligible, and all the readable files say "warning: This file will be automatically overwritten". And lilo didn't give me any control over what what happening.

I'm not deep into systems administration, and I don't want to be. OTOH, I do want to configure my own system to do what *I* want. And what I want is often not what the designers of the software expect, even though it's well within the range of things handled by the software. So I dislike systems that are either too automagic or too inflexible. Systemd is, from all reports, too automagic, and simultaneously too inflexible. So I'm seriously thinking about switching to Gentoo or Slackware. Or even one of the BSDs, though I don't know enough to even guess which one. (I have a desktop orientation, not a server or minimalist orientation, but I need to do some server style jobs. Most Linux systems will handle this easily, but I think that some BSD systmes are too heavily oriented towards server setups.)

Re:systemd adds to and supports the old model (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750501)

It keeps the Linux tradition of having really shit documentation too!

dont know, don't care as long as ... (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about a month ago | (#47750345)

Don't know, don't care as long as it is well documented for us non-coding sysadmin types so we know how to configure our systems to behave in the manner we want. And big blatant announcements when $DISTRO_OF_CHOICE implements it for a release. And a smooth easy painless upgrade/change path would be appreciated too.

Re:dont know, don't care as long as ... (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a month ago | (#47750481)

I don't know about other distros, but Fedora handled the change very smoothly. All you needed to do was use the approved upgrade tool (I don't remember, off-hand if it was still using preupgrade or had switched to fedup.) to download all the packages, reboot into the upgrade and when it completed and you rebooted into your freshly upgraded system, it was using systemd instead of init. Unless you had a reason to check, you never needed to know about the change.

LOL ... (1, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about a month ago | (#47750357)

LOL ... Then I choose FreeBSD. :-P

Re:LOL ... (1)

HEMI426 (715714) | about three weeks ago | (#47750677)

The problem with stuff like systemd is the creeping changes it's going to force on other stuff like FreeBSD down the road. Now you've got this monolithic init setup that also rolls in device abstraction and lots of other fun stuff that were traditionally not the domain of an init system. Eventually application authors may start depending on those functions as they are supplied by systemd, and at that point this all becomes a FreeBSD problem, too. Usually the Linux guys can keep their kids in their own pool, and by extension keep the pee out of ours, but this systemd fiasco may be a real problem down the road.

A plague on both their houses (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750373)

Yes, the old SysV init of hordes of scripts running in series was broken - especially for large-scale systems that have to do a lot of things during startup.

But systemd is just plain FUCKED UP. Read the dependencies [] .

Why the fuck does the startup process have to depend on the IPv6 kernel module? The other dependencies are no better.

systemd doesn't play well with others. (1)

lasermike026 (528051) | about a month ago | (#47750379)

systemd doesn't play well with others and it's an architectural abomination. Not to mention that systemd folks have the reputation of not playing well with others. It does things that admins and engineers just don't want their systems to do. Hmmm... I don't like systemd and it does things I do not like... Well F!@#$ that!

If SysV isn't enough we need to start coding something new.

Re:systemd doesn't play well with others. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47750581)

systemd doesn't play well with others and it's an architectural abomination. Not to mention that systemd folks have the reputation of not playing well with others.

Either thing ought to be reason to ditch both the thing and the people behind it. Both, doubly so. Yet it's not happening.

If SysV isn't enough we need to start coding something new.

That's exactly what they did, and what a few others did. What nobody deigned do was look at what was already there. There are some good alternatives even beyond the (IMO) already rather elegant and simple rc system as originated from netbsd but now also in use with the rest.

Bit of multiple cases of NIH, with one being both the most popular and the most unfriendly to non-linuxes.

Quick adoption of Upstart (1)

Yebyen (59663) | about a month ago | (#47750381)

I too am suspicious about the quick adoption of the Upstart init system in Ubuntu. (^W^W^W oops this article is about something else?)

Upstart is an Ubuntu-Only-ism, yet lots of people are using Ubuntu, and many times they are even on current/supported releases!

Upstart is not tested / does not work with many emerging technologies, such as Docker. We should all rally together against Upstart!

Seriously, I am not sure which side I should be on. I use Ubuntu with Docker and I've become a fan of baseimage-docker, which leveraged the "runit" system of managing service processes. It's braindead simple and totally transparent. After a couple of weeks using it occasionally, I feel like I can know it inside and out as a system that provides a level of clarity and transparency that I never had with Upstart, and don't get yet with Systemd. I am writing my own init "run" scripts and touching the binaries with my bare hands, and I don't mind.

Then outside of Docker, where Upstart works, I am letting the package maintainers handle this for me, and outside of the occasional "/etc/init.d/foo is a no-op and doesn't tell me so when I try to use it", everything works as I expect and I'm never touching inits at all. It's too cumbersome. Systemd, for the little bit that I've used it seems to me like a marginal improvement over that. There are a lot of keywords and config file directives to master. There is potential that these inits could be ported into a docker container with no additional keystrokes, since systemd itself is able to run in those container/protected environments. Great!

ung? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750429)

discussion outdated,... next!

Series of Toothpicks (1)

Luthair (847766) | about a month ago | (#47750445)

Each one is great for getting out the gunk, but when you string them together a great result it does not necessarily make. We know a lot more about computers and systems are far more complex than they were 22-years ago. That said, I don't know or care about systemd vs sysvinit.

How is this sentence anything but unsupported? (2)

Artifakt (700173) | about a month ago | (#47750447)

"Fundamental changes in the structure of most Linux distributions should not be met with such fervent opposition."

The more fundamental a change is, the more it changes everything - that's basically why we call it 'fundamental'. Making fundamental changes says there's a lot broken. If I said we need a program to fast track educating doctors for rural areas, that's a moderate change to the US medical system, and might a good or bad fix for one specific problem. If I say we need to shoot all existing physicians and substitute Qui-Gong practicioners, that's a fundamental change to American medicine. If someone asserts a change is fundamental, they have also implied the existing system is nearly or totally borked, so they have a very strong burden of proof shifted entirely to them for making that assertion. Unless they can meet that burden of proof, the other side should win any debates.
          The smart thing to do is to claim that a change is not alll that fundamental, and changes only a limited subset of things. For example, I could argue that gay marriage is a limited change, in that it is still based on a moral principle many of us respect (that the people choosing it are consenting adults with normal understanding), and not a more fundamental change (such as throwing out any moral base, including the principle of informed consent, so that pedophilia would somehow become legal). Notice how it's been mostly anti gay marriage advocates that are trying to paint the issue like everything under the sun will change if the other side wins - that's because many people have figured out how this burden of proof stuff works.


Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750463)

...just... make sure it's mine, mmkay?

I call TROLL ALERT (0)

Unknown74 (3041957) | about a month ago | (#47750471)

Since most distros already use systemd, it's pretty well moot, don't you think? I smell a MS troll it one of the "Pawn Stars"?

It's job security (1, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | about a month ago | (#47750479)

Old-school Unix admins don't WANT anything to change, or get easier. It threatens their livelihood. This is true of anyone with any kind of skill, but int computer-land, the changes come quickly.

It wouldn't be a problem if people weren't fundamentally lazy. But most people are. And admins are some of the *laziest*, because that laziness translates into an "automate everything" mindset, which is actually a good thing if you are an admin. But the idea of having to RE-automate everything sounds like work. Lots of work.

Re:It's job security (1)

myrdos2 (989497) | about three weeks ago | (#47750645)

but int computer-land

Ah, I see you're a programmer. Damn that muscle memory!

Re:It's job security (2)

nine-times (778537) | about three weeks ago | (#47750687)

Old-school Unix admins don't WANT anything to change, or get easier. It threatens their livelihood.

I would have my doubts that this were the real explanation. Maybe for a few people here and there, but most techies that I know wouldn't mind things being much easier. I think it's more of a stubbornness and resistance to change, maybe with a little bit of laziness in the realm of "I don't want to have to relearn things." And as you say, "I've developed some ways to make my life easier, and I don't want to re-develop them all."

Of course, there's also the possibility that some of the new ways of doing things are actually not as good as the old. That can happen too. All of these things can happen, but I don't know many IT people who actually go looking for ways to create job security. For most of us, the "laziness" overcomes that, and we're overloaded enough with other work that we're just looking to make things as easy as possible.

Re:It's job security (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about three weeks ago | (#47750721)

I don't find upstart easier. I don't find it easier at all. If systemd is anything like that, then it's not making things easier either. If anything, it sounds like it's making things more complex and harder to debug and easier to screw up.

That's the value of "old and primitive". It's easy to keep the whole thing in your head rather than it being a big mess you can't get your head around.

The far reaches (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750519)

This schism is, in a sense, the unix wars all over again. Because systemd is breaking compatability with "the old way" and at the same time explicitly linux-centric, thus shutting out other OSes of the programs that (perhaps perforce) depend on systemd's way of doing things.

I don't usually put much weight into Paul Venezia's ramblings because he's not exactly on top of the news, but this one thing he has managed to discern: It's about Unix beard-types vs. spotty basement dwellers.

The poettering creature is clearly someone who likes bells and whistles on his software, but you can find it in other places too, like anything that gratuitously adds colour to output by default (cmake, busybox, various distributions) or otherwise does things that it really shouldn't. You can even extend it to the gn00 crowd, who singlehandedly sought to replace manpages with something they said was better, only it wasn't unless you loved their favourite OS-lacking-an-editor too.

I'm clearly a beardy type despite cutting my teeth on Unix well after 1988. Apparently I did get the message where so many others did not.

Honestly it comes down to two things (1)

lot3k (840988) | about a month ago | (#47750533)

Change and control. Why replace something that isn't broken? What necessitates this change? If there's no necessity, then what value are we seeing to prompt this change? All features and tests and comparisons aside we then get to the final bit, the control. A fair amount of control is lost by switching to a dynamic init system, and it quite simply, confuses a lot of old world admins. There are a lot of advantages to a dynamic init system, but configuring and maintaining it aren't one of them. I myself have spent my share of time lamenting the difficulty the init changes have made modifying what used to be a simple one line fix.

If systemd is deemed going against unix philosophy (1)

loonycyborg (1262242) | about three weeks ago | (#47750549)

then does it apply to SMF in Solaris and launchd in MacOS too? I don't remember anyone asserting those to be going against unix philosophy based on having a service management facility..

Re:If systemd is deemed going against unix philoso (3, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | about three weeks ago | (#47750661)

Yes, the bloated pigware Sun/Oracle has put into Solaris is against the Unix philosphy and bad. I speak as Sun Certified Systems Engineer with 24 years experience in Solaris/SunOS. Happy?

MacOSX is a desktop system, who cares how complex Apple makes it to be easy for non-admin to use? not relevant to this discussion of a bloated complex thing for servers.

There, your questions have been answered.

not reasonable at all (4, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | about three weeks ago | (#47750623)

A complex startup system that logs to a database rather than a text log, is just poor engineering.

And to answer any systemd apologist who will mention that it can configured to log to syslog, that won't help if there is a problem in the vast complexity of systemd that prevents it from ever getting started to that point.

Just the requirement for dbus proves systemd far too complex and bloated a thing, it is against the Unix way of doing things. Failures and problems in a needlessly complicated black box may well be too difficult to even troubleshoot

at first i was with the old school crowd (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about three weeks ago | (#47750689)

for now i have become neutral on the topic of SystemD

i have Slackware-14.1 on an old 686 desktop that uses BSD style boot scripts, and i love it because they are easy to read and edit to my personal taste

i also have a x86_64 laptop that just got a fresh install of Debian Testing (Jessie) and Debian comes stock with SystemD starting with Jessie forward (unlike older releases) and so far it has not given me any problems, of course i did not do any tweaking to the startup scripts on the laptop

Re:at first i was with the old school crowd (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about three weeks ago | (#47750727)

A desktop system, perhaps one that is intended to appeal to non-tech audience, might be a good use for systemd. But a production servers, where quick troubleshooting to a mission critical system is a crucial requirement, does not need a massive and complex black box that requires many moving parts. That's what is bad about systemd, needless complexity in the boot process.

Binary logs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47750703)

Interoperability used to be the biggest thing going for Linux. What gives?

Best change in a while (1)

mcfedr (1081629) | about three weeks ago | (#47750705)

Its true, I prefer the upstart syntax, but either way, its a damn sight better than those scripts that we had to write for years. Why must people hang on so much to the old when there are so many clear advantages.
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