systemd for 11.10 ?

Steve Langasek steve.langasek at
Mon May 9 09:45:56 UTC 2011

Hi Patrick,

On Sun, May 08, 2011 at 03:39:37PM -0500, Patrick Goetz wrote:

> Woh, slow down there, partner.  If Ubuntu is going to switch from
> upstart to systemd, then the sooner the better.  There is nothing
> worse than investing time and energy learning about and working the
> kinks out of the deployment of a technology that you know is simply
> going to disappear in 1.5 years.

Sure there is - shipping an LTS release that is unusable for server admins
because of a late decision to rip out our init system in place of another
would be worse.

systemd is not a drop-in replacement for upstart.  If it were, the
conversation about switching might be a different one.  But in fact, all the
work that's been done to get the Ubuntu system working with native upstart
jobs would need to be ripped out and replaced either with sysvinit scripts
(reintroducing race conditions inherent in the model), or with systemd
scripts (which means heading off into uncharted waters and introducing new
bugs along the way in the process).

This is not a transition that I would like to see Ubuntu starting one year
before the next LTS with no prior preparation.  Even if Ubuntu decided to
switch to systemd in the long term (which is by no means a decision that has
been made yet!), switching now is sure to result in poor quality for the
next LTS.

And let's not forget that, for anyone tracking the LTS, upstart is *already*
the system in use for the previous LTS, 10.04.  The fundamentals of how
upstart will work in 12.04 LTS are the same as in 10.04 LTS; upstart in
12.04 will include incremental improvements to the usability and
instrumentability for system admins, this is not something *new* that admins
are being asked to invest their time in learning.

> Further, if everyone else is using systemd,

It is not the case that everyone else is using systemd.  When Lennart claims
that "most of the big distributions have decided to adopt it in one way or
another," he is engaging in bald propaganda.  Which distributions are "big"
according to this?  Is he counting Debian, which has systemd packaged but
has no committment to using it by default and does not have a policy in
place yet that allows native systemd scripts to be shipped in packages?  Is
"most of the big distributions" really "Fedora will use it, Debian will ship
it but not by default, and I think Red Hat will ship it"?

There are many ongoing conversations about whether systemd will meet
distributions' needs.  There are also ongoing conversations about whether
*upstart* will meet distributions' needs.  It is absolutely premature to say
that Ubuntu needs to follow the herd on systemd or be left behind.

> then in the absence of any *compelling* technical argument, Ubuntu should
> switch to systemd as well.  Again, linux sys admins are already drowning
> trying to keep up: "devfs is the greatest thing ever!  No -- scratch that,
> udev is the greatest thing ever!  Gconf is the bomb!  No, dconf is where
> it's at.  Wait, scratch that; dconf doesn't work over NFS!  No, wait; who
> cares?  dconf rulez!" In my opinion, at least the illusion of greater long
> term stability massively trumps the short term gains of stasis, not to
> mention the ability to leverage some technology knowledge from one distro
> to the next.  Very few, after all, enjoy the luxury of having to deal with
> only one distribution.

I think the paragraph above is a very good summary of one of the arguments
*against* jumping on board the systemd bandwagon and switching to this new
technology prematurely. ;)

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                          
slangasek at                                     vorlon at
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