I've been a professional UNIX/LINUX System Administrator for ~20 years...
> I personally came at systemd without a preconceived notion that it was
> wrong or a failure and instead read the design docs and was excited. It
> also helps that many years ago the team I was with gave up on sysvinit and
> unmanaged daemons and tried to only run services under daemontools.
Yep. The claims that systemd is complex and not well understood - in relation to the pile-o-hacks that is the current script based init system?
"Captain! The bogosity field is approaching maximum containment!"
If anyone, and I mean anyone, claims to "understand" the current init system - that person is full of crap. The current system is the nightmare everyone is claiming systemd is; it is buggy, complex, slow, and *extremely* fragile. I know how to *use* and modify the current init system to accomplish common goals - but there is no understanding that thing as there is very little to anything of a "design". It has been built via the uh-oh-we-need-to-deal-with-that-now method. The method it uses to determine initialization order can barely be described as a method.
> I don't understand all this hostility at all,
And on my laptop Pulse Audio works perfectly, and has since almost the beginning. Much like the Beagle search tool a couple of buggy initial releases have been perpetually held against by a small but loud group of users [who generally just like to hate things, IMNSHO]. I predict that systemd will face the same fate - it will be adopted but there will be some initial issues and a segment of users will spend the next decade talking about how much systemd sucks - while everyone else forgets about it because it just-works. And their systems boot so much faster they don't have to watch it roll-by every time they power on.