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Re: GR: Selecting the default init system for Debian

From:  Ian Jackson <>
Subject:  Re: GR: Selecting the default init system for Debian
Date:  Sun, 19 Jan 2014 12:04:17 +0000
Message-ID:  <>
Archive-link:  Article

Guillem Jover writes ("GR: Selecting the default init system for Debian"):
> I think that forcing a decision through the TC at this time was very
> premature and inappropriate, [...]

Perhaps surprisingly, I am not entirely opposed to the idea of a GR
for this question.

My reasons are quite different to yours: to summarise, it seems to me
that the init system decision involves political questions as well as
technical ones.

Points that have be raised which are essentially political include:

 * What kinds of attitudes are appropriate in an upstream ?
   For example, how much is it reasonable for an upstream for
   a project to require a specific init system ?
 * How much do we as a project care about the non-Linux ports ?
 * How much do we care about desktop vs. non-desktop users ?
 * How much effort are we collectively willing to put into dealing
   with things that upstreams do that we find troublesome
   (implicitly, at the cost of spending time on other things) ?
 * How scared are we of ending up the effective upstream for
   projects of various sizes ? [1]
 * If we are worried about being dictated to by upstreams, which
   upstreams are more scary ?
 * Many of the considerations in your message are matters of
   Debian internal politics.

These are all IMO reasonable questions that one might ask.

I do think that the proper process is for the TC to make a decision at
this stage.  The way I read the constitution and the context is that
it is the TC's job.  Evidently you disagree.  But there are certainly
things that some TC members are suggesting which would lead me myself
to want to propose or sponsor a GR to overturn it.

If we are going to have a GR, we need of course to have all of the
sensible options on the ballot.  I think your division of the key
possibilities is sensible.  However, I think your option (B) needs
further reconsideration.  I doubt the project will have the appetite
for two GRs on this topic.

Most people are heartily sick of the subject already, probably.
(Indeed I'm somewhat worried that people might want to punish the
proposers and sponsors of a GR for prolonging such a tiresome

Thanks for your attention,

[1] I don't mention the upstart CLA here because pretty much everyone
agrees that the upstart CLA is ridiculous.  The question is whether it
is in fact a problem for us, which is a mixed technical and political
question.  It boils down to this: how difficult would it be to
maintain it as a fork rather than a downstream (a technical question),
and how likely it is that we will in practice end up with a patch
stack which can't be resolved with upstream changes (a political

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