I also tried to live with systemd. I was using archlinuxarm on my embedded device, they had no choice but to follow suit with Big Daddy arch when they switched (hmm, common, eh?).
Generic run-of-the-mill daemon starting is easy enough, just like rc. For me, the problem was the "in between the cracks" stuff. Oh, Lennart Poettering is quick (and vocal) to point out the MOUNTAINS of documentation about his baby. Also to finger people who don't care for it for whatever reason "Haters". I'm all for spending time learning about something new if it has benefit to me, but this didn't. And mountains of documentation, all well and fine, but wading through that to do something I could do in seconds in rc didn't seem like the direction I wanted to go in learning.
Specifically, I had an issue using dtach. On a limited memory device, dtach is much better than screen if you run it 24/7, since it is MUCH smaller. It involved sockets. At the time there was very little to go on, although I have seen a lot more now. I spent a couple of days trying to work it out, finally decided to switch to Funtoo as I was quite familiar with it running on my "real" computers.
By default it also ran the systemd log, journald. On my embedded device there is a total of 128M ram, it sucked up 70M or so. Even when I figured out how to defeat that, there was still some memory footprint of it, I never got the full 70M back.
It keeps growing and growing in scope, 1st you don't need a system log anymore, journald replaces it (poorly IMO). Then cron, it has it's own implimentation, login? Nope, only systemd login needed now. What's next? This isn't the GNU/linux way to me.
Finally, there are a lot of political implications, I won't go into that here, it's easy enough to find. I do find it quite interesting that the U.S. military is Red Hat's biggest customer.
I'm no expert on systemd, it sounds like you've put some effort into learning about it, this is just my personal experience with trying to use it for 8-9 months.
Hah, here's a quote on wikipedia/systemd (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systemd):
In an August 2014 article published in InfoWorld, Paul Venezia writes about the systemd controversy, and attributes the controversy
to violation of the Unix philosophy, and to "enormous egos who firmly believe they can do no wrong." The article also
characterizes the architecture of systemd as more similar to that of Microsoft Windows software:
While systemd has succeeded in its original goals, it's not stopping there. systemd is becoming the Svchost of Linux – which
I don't think most Linux folks want. You see, systemd is growing, like wildfire, well outside the bounds of enhancing the
Linux boot experience. systemd wants to control most, if not all, of the fundamental functional aspects of a Linux system – from
authentication to mounting shares to network configuration to syslog to cron.
I take issue with the "succeeded in its original goals" statement.