> I cannot see why Poettering et al couldn't work with Ubuntu despite what the article says.
Then you probably you don't want to.
> Dependency management? Surely that could have been solved differently and deprecated with time.
This sort of design decision is at the very core of upstart. Saying that they should have modified upstart to do what they want is like saying that one should build a car by taking a ship and replacing parts because after all, they're both means of transportation. How is that supposed to be useful? And besides, judging by the way Scott James Remnant defended his design decisions after systemd had launched (to the point where he'd refuse to adopt systemd's socket activation scheme and come up with his own design that doesn't offer any advantages), I don't think he would have agreed with such far-reaching changes.
> Contributor agreement is a problem for six full time Red Hat developers?
I don't see what Poettering et al. being a Red Hat employees has to do with accepting copyright assignment. And besides, even if these things had anything to do with each other, you'd still be ignoring at least 10 other systemd developers with commit rights.
> Sounds like NIH in disguise: leaving a strategic component in the hands of a rival.
If being in control were the motivation, the systemd project would require copyright assignment itself. It doesn't, and if Ubuntu/Canonical were interested in being a good open source citizen, they wouldn't either.
> Having Upstart transform the face of Linux init would have been great. Even a fork of Upstart might have been tolerable. As it is, they have created the infamous (n+1)th standard -- and are even proud of it.
Uh, no they didn't. systemd replaced many other init schemes in different distributions, and systemd unit files, unlike SysV init scripts, can trivially be shared between distros. Upstart never saw nearly as much adoption, and every distro except Ubuntu dumped it as soon as a sane alternative was available (this alone speaks volumes about Upstart).