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Init systems in Debian

Init systems in Debian

Posted Jan 28, 2013 21:42 UTC (Mon) by drag (subscriber, #31333)
In reply to: Init systems in Debian by man_ls
Parent article: Poettering: The Biggest Myths

I'd rather just have a system that actually works. I don't care about the implementation details as long as I don't have to deal with the implementation details.

By not choosing Debian has more then tripled the amount of workload they have to deal with to make the system function properly. This not only increases their workload, it exponentially increases the amount of bugs a person is likely to run into. It makes it harder to write software for the system because now you have at least 3 different operating systems personalities you have to deal with.

Throwing scripts at it to try to automate the creation of other scripts for upstart and sysinv just means that now instead of just supporting 3 different init systems they have to support 3 different init systems and a bunch of new scripts.

To put it another way:

* It makes the workload they have to deal with much higher. This is Debian's developers problem. Maybe they prefer to play around with init systems rather then having a working OS. I can't fault them for how they want to spend their time, but... if their goal is to have a stable working OS with lots of software and third party support it's not something that is going to help them any meaningful respect in that regard.

* It increases the burden of third parties writing and maintaining services much harder. This is something that anybody trying to use or support Debian is now forced to deal with.

* It exponentially increases the amounts of bugs any person is likely to run into with Debian init's system. This is something that will bite end users and will likely contribute to issues for people that try to use Debian in production.

This is why it's a bad decision. It makes the OS worse, not better. Maintaining different kernels is very silly also if your goal is to have anything other then a toy OS, but at least the non-linux-kernel-debian folks can be marginalized by the fact that nobody actually uses that stuff. Unlike KFreeBSD I expect that they will have users that actually expect that sysvinit, systemd and/or upstart works.

And what is the benefit? So I can compare init systems side by side? Doesn't seem like much of a return of on investment.


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Init systems in Debian

Posted Jan 28, 2013 22:05 UTC (Mon) by smurf (subscriber, #17840) [Link]

Debian didn't decide. Or rather, they discovered that any attempt to force a decision would fail, so they decided not to decide.

In any case, I am fairly optimistic that post-Wheezy the "best practice" way to start a service in Debian will be a native systemd script, with auto-generated SysV-ish shell scripts and/or upstart-esque config files, whenever there are no special requirements.

How much time will elapse until then, I have no idea and refuse to speculate about. This is Debian, after all. :-/

Init systems in Debian

Posted Jan 28, 2013 22:08 UTC (Mon) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

As stated above, the same argument could be made for desktop environments, text editors, graphical editors, spreadsheets and every other redundant set of programs; not only for kernels. Perhaps you are interested in a distribution that offers just one set of integrated, polished components. That is not Debian in my experience. And that is its strength, despite the burden of development.

As to that burden, I expect that it will not be so difficult to develop for three init systems given that both Upstart and systemd claim to be SysV init-compatible. Even if the script automation script does not work out. I have had to customize init scripts every once in a while, this should not be too different.

Init systems in Debian

Posted Jan 28, 2013 23:00 UTC (Mon) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

Various components have support for systemd. Some still fall back to other methods at runtime, some do not. This does add a lot of complexity, potential bugs, etc. I noticed this when Mageia switched to fully systemd in the development version. That just took a few days, because quite easy if the goal is systemd only. If you want to support all, I guess you might need to write some code because not every component (package) compiled with systemd support has that support as a runtime extra feature.

Init systems in Debian

Posted Jan 29, 2013 16:51 UTC (Tue) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

The goal of the operating system is to make it easier to write and run applications/services. Anything that is done to make those activities more difficult then necessary is full of fail.


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