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Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

From:  Ian Jackson <ijackson-AT-chiark.greenend.org.uk>
To:  debian-devel-AT-lists.debian.org
Subject:  Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version
Date:  Tue, 28 Feb 2012 14:36:11 +0000
Message-ID:  <20300.58971.727528.520648@chiark.greenend.org.uk>
Archive-link:  Article

Josselin Mouette writes ("Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version"):
> Or, as has been said countless times otherwise: kFreeBSD should not
> hinder the improvement of the Linux ports.

It's not just kFreeBSD.  Accepting systemd, in the current state,
means permanently tying ourselves to the Linux kernel.

The Linux kernel project has some serious and ongoing structural
problems and I think it's very important that as a project we keep our
options open.

I have no hesitation in utterly rejecting the idea that we should base
our system on a project whose upstream refuse to consider portability
as a worthwhile goal.

There are of course other reasons not to like systemd.

Ian.




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Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 1, 2012 9:46 UTC (Thu) by AndreE (guest, #60148) [Link]

So Debian doesn't have modern open source radeon drivers with KMS?

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 1, 2012 11:52 UTC (Thu) by lacos (subscriber, #70616) [Link]

"So Debian doesn't have modern open source radeon drivers with KMS?"

Of course it has one.

Ian Jackson said "base our system". The "modern open source radeon drivers with KMS" is not the basis of the system. You don't even use it on Linux if you have a different graphics adapter.

On the other hand, you have to *boot* into runlevel 3 (or 5) no matter what.

I see my decision to run Debian at home 100% vindicated.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 2, 2012 6:07 UTC (Fri) by AndreE (guest, #60148) [Link]

Not quite.

"Accepting systemd, in the current state,
means permanently tying ourselves to the Linux kernel."

By accepting kms and radeon you are already permanently tied to the Linux kernel. It's a very poor argument against adoption.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 2, 2012 12:38 UTC (Fri) by lacos (subscriber, #70616) [Link]

"By accepting kms and radeon you are already permanently tied to the Linux kernel."

I really don't understand your point.

Consider the current stable release, Squeeze, with two (kernel, arch) pairs: (Linux, amd64) and (FreeBSD, amd64). You can boot both, have runlevels, services, daemons and so on.

Using the Linux kernel, I do have kms / radeon support. In the kFreeBSD flavor I may not have KMS, but X11 is there:

http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/kfreebsd-amd64/ch02...

That X11 version, on top of the FreeBSD kernel, may or may not support all features of a modern Radeon GPU. You most probably will have some basic graphics support. But even if you don't, it doesn't mean that you can't run Debian Squeeze *at all* on FreeBSD. It only means that your graphics card is not (fully) supported. You can still perfectly well run daemons on a headless server that way, for example. So, kms / radeon does not tie Debian to the Linux kernel.

On the other hand, if you rebase Debian onto systemd, that makes the boot process (ie. reaching one of the multiuser runlevels) dependent on Linux kernel features, like cgroups. If you have systemd, you can't even *boot* Debian on top of a FreeBSD kernel.

(Obviously, upstart and systemd are mutually exclusive; it's practically impossible to support both with all services. So you can't say "boot Debian/Linux with upstart, and Debian/kFreeBSD with systemd.)

The *layer* where the system becomes dependent on Linux-only features is completely different. Considering KMS/radeon, it's (accelerated) graphics. Considering systemd, it's *booting*.

I may have misunderstood your point, of course.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 2, 2012 12:41 UTC (Fri) by lacos (subscriber, #70616) [Link]

"(Obviously, upstart and systemd are mutually exclusive; it's practically impossible to support both with all services. So you can't say "boot Debian/Linux with upstart, and Debian/kFreeBSD with systemd.)"

Sorry, I mixed up those two in my argument, but you get my point.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 6, 2012 13:01 UTC (Tue) by laptop006 (subscriber, #60779) [Link]

*blink*

I don't have to boot my system to runlevel 3 or 5, this system, as do all (non-customised) Debian systems boot into runlevel 2 by default.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 1, 2012 11:21 UTC (Thu) by dgm (subscriber, #49227) [Link]

> The Linux kernel project has some serious and ongoing structural
problems

I'm the only one that finds this sentence overly vague? What are those problems? Are they intrinsic to Linux? Are they caused by the current code?, the architecture?, the developer community?, historic decisions?, the project goals? any thing else?

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 1, 2012 14:10 UTC (Thu) by tshow (subscriber, #6411) [Link]

Agreed. [citation needed].

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 1, 2012 15:06 UTC (Thu) by dag- (subscriber, #30207) [Link]

I think the lack of substance of the quote and the fact that systemd controversies have been discussed on LWN a few times now, are the main reasons why it made it to this week's quotes.

I don't think anyone is asking my opinion on the quote, but I'll give it for free anyway ;-) If Debian is going to make important decisions based on the compatibility they expect from other developers (rather than investing in development themselves) they might end up with the lowest common denominator. At least Lennart has openly said that he is willing to accept patches, but not interested in doing the effort himself, which makes perfect sense, why should he?

If Debian expects systemd to work with kFreeBSD, why not offer the patches and get involved in systemd development? If however they prefer not to invest in development, then taking a direction that differs from what (most?) other distributions are doing might be more costly in the long term (and maybe even not sustainable).

You can lead, you can follow or you can divert. And most of the distributions have learned that a combination of leading and following works best, diverting often means pain and suffering. You can bet none of the other large distributions will trade systemd for something else, just to support kFreeBSD on the basis that "The Linux kernel project has some serious and ongoing structural problems".

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 1, 2012 15:16 UTC (Thu) by dgm (subscriber, #49227) [Link]

> If Debian expects systemd to work with kFreeBSD, why not offer the patches and get involved in systemd development?

Because Debian is not a developer organization. Is a software distributor. They package existing software. As such, they do not expect anything from systemd. It fits the distro policies (in which case it is packaged) or it doesn't (in which case it is not).

It really is that simple.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 1, 2012 20:30 UTC (Thu) by dag- (subscriber, #30207) [Link]

Well, even if it appears that simple, distributors do integration work and do development as well. Why else do we have "Debian developers" instead of "Debian packagers".

But I don't mind if Debian decides that kFreeBSD compatibility is more important than a better (or more comparable) Linux experience. Diversity is key.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 1, 2012 23:03 UTC (Thu) by alecs1 (guest, #46699) [Link]

Actually, I'm now running with SystemD on Debian, (I hope it didn't get broken again by an update since I last rebooted), so I don't quite understand what that thread is about. What context am I missing? If they already got it to work (with the old SysV scripts and whatever), what's the big fuss about it? I wouldn't worry too much about neglecting SysV, and instead concentrate on getting the best from what I already have. The way it seems, SysV is going to stay in the same incarnation for many years, with OSes moving slower than Linux. Should Linux fail, moving some scripts back to SysV is going to be on of the easier parts Debian has to do.

And yes, I agree Debian is more of a software distributor than developer organization, and I'm starting to be less and less happy with this. It's not fun when even Windows has KDE4 releases half a year earlier, Fedora has SystemD some 8 months earlier, Ubuntu users experiment with Unity and latest minute Mesa etc. I get so disconnected with upstream, when I'd actually like to give some feedback and report bugs.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 2, 2012 0:20 UTC (Fri) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

What context am I missing?

The question at hand is whether to make systemd the default init system on Debian. A handful of people who are running Debian on a BSD kernel object to this because current systemd doesn't support anything but Linux.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 2, 2012 20:36 UTC (Fri) by xtifr (subscriber, #143) [Link]

Um, no, it's not just people who are running Kfreebsd, it's also people who want to run Kfreebsd, people who want to retain the option to run Kfreebsd, people who are working on ports of Debian to other kernels (there are several similar projects to Kfreebsd, though none is anywhere near as advanced), people who want to retain the option of using any of these other ports, and, of course, people who, for whatever reason, don't trust Lennart and/or don't feel comfortable depending on his code.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 3, 2012 14:55 UTC (Sat) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

Whatever. This still doesn't mean that the vast majority of Debian users should be held back just because there are various edge cases involving non-Linux kernels which taken together amount to a very small fraction of the total userbase. After all, the main objection to systemd on Linux still seems to be »We don't like PulseAudio« – from an objective technical point of view, systemd is an improvement over SysV init on so many levels that it is difficult to find a place to start.

Maybe the way to handle this would be to make systemd the default on platforms that support it (i.e., Linux, as of now) while sticking with SysV init on those that don't. AFAICT, the main problem with this would be that packages containing system services would have to provide both systemd configuration files and SysV init-style init scripts – but in most cases it should be possible to generate an init script from a systemd configuration file when the package is constructed or installed. Considering the fact that systemd is available for Debian already, and that, given this, including systemd configuration files with system services in addition to SysV init scripts wouldn't be a mistake now, that doesn't seem to be a big thing.

The people who want to run Debian on non-Linux kernels (etc.) could then still decide whether they wanted to attempt to port systemd to their platform (possibly without Linux-specific features such as cgroups that are useful but not central to systemd's operation), implement a generic service runner for SysV init that works off systemd configuration files directly (to save themselves the trouble of generating SysV init scripts), or stay with SysV init and all its problems and limitations for eternity. This would put the responsibility of dealing with the issue where it belongs (i.e., with the minority platforms) while keeping Debian on Linux in line with what in a few years' time will very probably be the established standard on all other major Linux distributions.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 1, 2012 19:29 UTC (Thu) by Tobu (subscriber, #24111) [Link]

At least Lennart has openly said that he is willing to accept patches
He said the opposite:
Portability to OSes: systemd is not portable to non-Linux systems. It makes use of a large number of Linux-specific interfaces, including many that are used by its very core. We do not consider it feasable to port systemd to other Unixes (let alone non-Unix operating systems) and will not accept patches for systemd implementing any such portability (but hey, it's git, so it's as easy as it can get to maintain your own fork...).
Source

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 1, 2012 20:20 UTC (Thu) by dag- (subscriber, #30207) [Link]

Point taken, not sure where I got it from. I clearly remember having read that he didn't mind other people doing the integration, but he did not care about it. Maybe more dependencies on Linux specific technologies changed the initial position, or maybe I simply misread something ?

But how is this different from OpenSSH, where the OpenBSD team also does not accept portability patched in the core project. It shouldn't hold anyone back, if determined. We'll see what Debian decides to do, I stick to my 'lowest common denominator' theory ;-)

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 2, 2012 0:07 UTC (Fri) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

It's not a real problem. Maintaining a git branch with a bunch of portability patches that tracks upstream closely is possible and is pretty much how openSSH works. If Debian cares about a obscure niche thing like KFreeBSD over systemd, that's their choice.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 2, 2012 14:43 UTC (Fri) by wookey (subscriber, #5501) [Link]

Debian cared about an obscure niche thing called ARM 10 years before everyone else (*) too. This approach has significant benefits for all (and some disbenefits too of course). The benefits accrue to the whole ecosystem. The disbenefits are largely shouldered by Debian. But that's OK - we're not in this for the money.

(*) very approximately, sweeping generalisation

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 2, 2012 15:47 UTC (Fri) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

ARM port and KFreeBSD aren't comparable and the issue is not that you care but you want to make init system choices based on compatibility with it. That isn't a winning situation for anyone unless you are willing to port it yourself IMO but hey everyone has the right to waste^w invest their time as they see fit.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 2, 2012 16:15 UTC (Fri) by wookey (subscriber, #5501) [Link]

ARM port 12 years ago and KfreeBSD port now are comparable in terms of user numbers and importance in the 'world out there'.

I'm pointing out that supporting obscure alternatives is not necesarily a waste of time/effort. And the general policy that makes that possible has benefits.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 2, 2012 19:27 UTC (Fri) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

There are questions of possibilities and perspective.

ARM port is not a big deal in itself, it's just another Linux architecture to support (and Debian was running on m68k at that time already).

kFreeBSD and Debian-HURD are much more complex - they involve ripping off the kernel and replacing a significant part of userspace infrastructure. And for no real gains but with a significant price.

Quite a number of other distributions are adopting systemd now and Debian really risks to be left behind (even more than usual, I mean). Then there's the question of KMS, DRI2 and Wayland - graphics stack is rapidly evolving right now and kFreeBSD/HURD are almost not evolving at all in this area. It's already getting more and more complex to run FreeBSD on recent video cards (I have to support our app on FreeBSD and I don't like it at all).

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 2, 2012 22:00 UTC (Fri) by robbe (subscriber, #16131) [Link]

Maintaining a "portable systemd" is certainly possible. Noone has stepped up to do that, however.

OpenSSH has several important differences to systemd:
* The network interface is RFC-specified, and regularely tested against other implementations. The commandline interface is quite simple and evolving slowly. That makes OpenSSH easily replaceable by another implementation -- free ones exist.

* Relatively few off-the-shelf components interact with ssh, and if they do, they often use very little features. On the other hand, every service is expected to work in some way with systemd, making it far more central than OpenSSH,

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 4, 2012 0:56 UTC (Sun) by foom (subscriber, #14868) [Link]

I really hope Debian does not get left behind as the only distro still using SysV init, just because a couple people want to support kFreeBSD. Best case, someone *will* step up to make a portable systemd before wheezy+1. If that doesn't happen, I'd much rather Debian kFreeBSD be dropped for lack of interest than have Debian stuck with a crappy init forever...

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 5, 2012 21:33 UTC (Mon) by robbe (subscriber, #16131) [Link]

I don't see the big problems, frankly.

systemd is already present in wheezy, and will hopefully be released with it -- as an optional init. In the next years, a lot of upstream packages will grow systemd integration. But this will not make their sysv init-scripts suddenly vanish. If more and more users migrate away from sysv init, said scripts risk bitrot, of course, and the maintainence burden will shift to those sticking with sysv init for whatever reason.

I do not envision Debian maintainers to refuse working with either init solution. sysv init-scripts will probably stay mandatory mid-term, but this does not prevent adding of systemd service files or other glue. systemd afficionados can continue to run Debian.

As it were, the Debian way is again to implement both alternatives. Move along, nothing to see here.

Ubuntu on the other hand ...

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 11, 2012 3:35 UTC (Sun) by elanthis (guest, #6227) [Link]

I believe you were thinking of the comments about patches for other Linux-based OSes. e.g., he's not going to port to Debian, but he'll take any patches necessary to get things working on Debian.

One of the goals of systemd is to unify a lot of the crazy distro-specific stuff, but in the short term, various hacks and changes are necessary to get there. Mostly just integration scripts and config files and the like, if I understand correctly.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 8, 2012 10:08 UTC (Thu) by slashdot (guest, #22014) [Link]

Eh?

Surely the BSDs have far worse structural problems, like having a distinction between developers, with the "core team" members being more equal than others, which greatly impedes development.

Also, a version of systemd for BSDs is of course possible to write, and not even hard.

Re: upstart: please update to latest upstream version

Posted Mar 10, 2012 14:38 UTC (Sat) by kroeckx (subscriber, #65877) [Link]

What we want to do in Debian is to have all init systems supported, including systemd, upstart and sysvinit, and that that the user can easily change between them. That should make it possible to for instance use systemd or upstart as default on Linux and sysvinit on the other ports.

The current discussion on the policy to make this possible is happening in:
http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=591791


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