Initialising regrettable decisions with systemd


Last month I moved the last of my Linux boxes from CentOS to Debian. Aside from being what work uses, a side benefit was not having to deal with systemd. Given Debian isn't just Linux, the chances of systemd being adopted by this last major holdout seemed unlikely.

Well then, here was a shocker from February I should have know about:

We exercise our power to decide in cases of overlapping jurisdiction
(6.1.2) by asserting that the default init system for Linux
architectures in jessie should be systemd.

There's still hope though, if you can parse this next paragraph of the vote announcment:

Should the project pass a General Resolution before the release of
"jessie" asserting a "position statement about issues of the day" on
init systems, that position replaces the outcome of this vote and is
adopted by the Technical Committee as its own decision.

As a FreeBSD guy, I'm used to over-engineered systems and decisions in the broader F/OSS community being made to benefit Linux instead of Unix. It forced my beloved Xfce desktop to only support a subset of features on the BSDs with its 4.10 release. systemd represents this for servers.

I suppose as the dominant player in this space, it was inevitable. But here's an idea; suppose FreeBSD uses its lack of systemd as a competitive advantage? Quoting Paul Venezia in InfoWorld:

To pick another element out of the same comments, there's suddenly an uptick in interest in FreeBSD. I've been a FreeBSD proponent for a long time, having run FreeBSD servers for two decades now. I've heard more than a few rumblings of veteran admins exploring the possibility of migrating services over to FreeBSD instead of Linux due to systemd, and I believe this idea may find more legs as time passes.

I'd like to see the evidence for this uptick, but its an interesting situation. This push factor, comibined with the new pkgng system makes FreeBSD even more attractive as an alternative. And, just because I can quote this too:

Especially now with all the fervor over Docker, if suddenly people discovered what FreeBSD jails have long been able to do, it might trigger industrial-size changes.

I admire his optimism, even if I don't share it yet!

Back in Linux, the one major distro not using systemd is Gentoo. I haven't used it on my own hardware since 2005, but my colleagues say OpenRC is rather lovely, and solves many of the problems people claim systemd is required for.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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