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What was the reason for not switching to systemd ?


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I noticed how much effort went into getting Gnome 3 to run without systemd. But I'm interested what was the reason for not switching to it?


I had a look at the comparison table ( http://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Talk:Comparison_of_init_systems ) and it seems to me that probably the "Hard-to-debug monolithic startup in undocumented C" might be it. Am I correct?


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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."[39] The article also
characterizes the architecture of systemd as more similar to that of Microsoft Windows software:[39]
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.
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I have very mixed thoughts on the whole thing. On one hand debugging a layered system with cleanly separated scripts is much easier. But a lo of time that debugging is needed because different things won't play together nicely. Systemd kinda fixes that by implementing a lot of those.


But I don't feel quite comfortable having such a tight woven system inside, becuase to me systemd seems like a "OS within OS" or "kernel over kernel" type of thing and very blackboxy.


On the third hand,  would love to see Linux boot as fast as Windows 8.1. I know that Winows is kind of cheating with FastBoot but damn...

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  • Funtoo Linux Developer

The question being "Why Gnome support without systemd?" rather than "Why does systemd suck?", I also would like to add that the first of the four freedoms of free software is the freedom to choose. So one should have the choice to run Gnome without being forced to use systemd if you don't want to. Funtoo does not force you not to used systemd, it allows you not to use it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My reasons:


I haven't the technical experience or knowledge to claim "this tech is better than that" on technical grounds.  But as an end user on desktop and server I tend to like stuff which doesn't break my existing environments and methods, is discoverable/learnable in terms of readable config and logs and errors, and which doesn't push me into using things I don't specifically want or never needed before being told I must have them.


My home server currently runs Debian stable (headless) with a few things from Debian backports and deb-multimedia.  My EeePC runs Debian Testing and my desktop has been running Debian Stable/Testing for a lot of years (transitioning to testing as each testing release approaches freeze, so currently it's on testing).  Both run Xfce.  This means on my server things work in that perfect boring way, no excitement, automatic upgrades on cron job etc and no problems (ever as far as I can remember!).  My laptop and desktop have been through an automatic upgrade from sysv-init to systemd and actually in terms of daily use I did notice vastly improved boot and shutdown times, and these do matter to me.  But I also found that using a graphical login manager has become pretty much mandatory or else stuff like loading keyring and mounting remote shares, local ecryptfs directories, and using ssh-agent automatically all become tedious and troublesome, apparently because as consolekit and policykit and systemd and logind and udev get more tightly integrated it becomes very hard to do without any one piece of the puzzle.  So I have been pushed into doing things in ways which I would not choose simply to retain the same functionality I was used to.  This led me to try out freebsd and pc-bsd and to conclude that they aren't practical for me for desktop use until/unless their X drivers get better, specifically the intel drivers, and the sound sytem moves into the 21st century.  So next I tried funtoo.  I have played a bit with gentoo in the past but have not been a fan of their community in recent years (a few years ago them losing their whole wiki and having no back up, and letting the governance and foundation slide into disarray while offering some pretty poorly maintained software was very much less than confidence inspiring).  Recently I bought a used core-i3 Dell Vostro very cheap, added 8GB of decent RAM and decided this would be the right time to try funtoo as it will give me some choices and also I finally have enough processing power that compiling stuff will take minutes, not days.  It is working out very well.  Somehow my computer works fine without systemd.  Weird.  Don't tell Lennart.   Amazingly my audio system also still works fine with just alsa and a custom .asoundrc.  Sorry Mr Poettering.

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