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Irrelevant is the word, unfortunately

Irrelevant is the word, unfortunately

Posted Jun 16, 2014 14:53 UTC (Mon) by Arker (guest, #14205)
In reply to: Irrelevant is the word, unfortunately by bojan
Parent article: Questioning corporate involvement in GNOME development

Irrelevant is a silly word here.

It's perfectly relevant to those of us that use it.

You demand 'relevance' in a form that is, really, irrelevant. Making it 'relevant' in the sense you mean would only make it worthless to the people who actually use and value it already.

I dont mean to call you out personally and would not have even commented but this same lousy logic over and over again, it's a common meme, and it's harmful.

Redhat has clearly staked out their own space, they want a vendor-specific OS that does things their way, and so they have ripped out a lot of components and replaced them with their own, incompatible ones. With systemd and CoreOS stuff they do not just, e.g. replace the init system with one more to their tastes, they actually make it a system that does a lot more than just init, takes over a dozen or more roles, and where before you had a dozen different roles each of which might have several compatible options, so they could be chosen individually and work together - now if you choose their option, your whole ecosystem of compatible alternatives is mooted, there is no more choice; CoreOS is the only way. (I am not saying it really *is* the only way but it seems designed to give that impression, and to discourage anything else.)

Now at the same time they openly scoff at wider *nix compatibility and feel it would 'hold them back' if they cared for it, so they dont. It's clear they think this is a winning strategy for them for some reason, I disagree, but it's their right to pursue it and I would not dispute that. But why anyone else is willing to play along is I will confess more of a mystery to me. As an end-user of Free Software and specifically of Free *nix I certainly dont see any of this as being in my best interest.

I dont think we can blame Gnomes problems on Redhat, Gnomes problems go too far back for that, but I think that they have a certain shared view of things between the projects, similar attitudes towards compatibility with the larger *nix ecosystem (both dislike it and prefer to fork "their" community rather than make any accommodation there) and towards users (welcome only if they know their place and avoid questioning sacred design decisions) and so on and that they wind up closely associated because of this, because they have similar viewpoints, values and desires, not because of any subterfuge.

Although at this point Redhat probably does have a lot of control, by virtue of being by far the largest contributor, there's nothing I have seen to suggest anything nefarious from that - it's more of a default claim that develops automatically because no one else cares.


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Irrelevant is the word, unfortunately

Posted Jun 16, 2014 15:57 UTC (Mon) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

> Now at the same time they openly scoff at wider *nix compatibility and feel it would 'hold them back'

At the level of systemd/etc, there is no such thing as "wider *nix compatibility" -- every Unix, BSD, and even Linuxes were already incompatible.

Even at a higher level, often the only way to get any sort of compatibility between those environments was to install the GNU tools everywhere.

But anyway.

Irrelevant is the word, unfortunately

Posted Jun 16, 2014 18:52 UTC (Mon) by Arker (guest, #14205) [Link]

"At the level of systemd/etc, there is no such thing as "wider *nix compatibility" -- every Unix, BSD, and even Linuxes were already incompatible."

That's simply not true.

Each distribution might use their own init but these are still inits - they do that one job, not everything else, and you CAN easily swap them in and out to replace each other - on slack for instance we have a custom sysV init (but with BSD syntax) but that can be swapped out for e.g. runit, or OpenRC relatively easily. Each of these init systems is different but each performs the same role, and can fit in the same spot in the system.

Systemd does not work in that paradigm, you cannot pull out a standard init and replace it with systemd without replacing a lot of unrelated items as well, nor can you replace systemd with a standard init. A large section of the architecture of the system has simply been replaced en masse, by something with a different structure, a fundamentally different design from the mature design we are familiar with.

And of course personal experience is not statistical data, but I dont see you producing statistical data either and I know a great many programs will compile just fine on various linuces and unices with no more effort than ./configure, and I think the first program I ever ran into that broke that expectation was Gnome. Certainly Gnome and systemd/CoreOS is the first major project I remember taking such an openly contemptuous view towards anyone not eating the exact same dog food they prefer.

So the way I see it, we have a great big *nix ecosystem that includes the BSDs and the Linuces and anything else that wants to be compatible, but the bigger players (Redhat and Canonical) do not want to be compatible with it anymore. So what we are moving towards is a three-way schism. Slackware, Gentoo, and OpenBSD at least, along with some hobbyist projects, will continue to be *nix. Redhat and Debian will become CoreOS, a mostly incompatible fork that will continue to consciously move in the direction of less compatibility every release, while Ubuntu will continue to flog their own versions of the same idea creating yet another mostly incompatible fork, also likely to evolve in the direction of less compatible each iteration.

If that's what they really want to do fine, but I prefer *nix and I suspect most of their users would as well, at least if they understood the question.

Irrelevant is the word, unfortunately

Posted Jun 16, 2014 19:48 UTC (Mon) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

"Systemd does not work in that paradigm, you cannot pull out a standard init and replace it with systemd without replacing a lot of unrelated items as well, nor can you replace systemd with a standard init"

Sure, you can. The so called unrelated things are all optional. That is how distributions were able to move to systemd incrementally.

Irrelevant is the word, unfortunately

Posted Jun 16, 2014 20:50 UTC (Mon) by Arker (guest, #14205) [Link]

"Sure, you can. The so called unrelated things are all optional. That is how distributions were able to move to systemd incrementally."

Moving to it incrementally has the support of the development team. A stable state where systemd is expected to play nice with traditional components it prefers to replace is rather obviously not the same.

Of course it's always technically possible with some developers and time, if you dont mind to spend the time you can make just about anything work, but that's really not the point. It's all designed to be used as one big unit and if you use it otherwise and find a bug expect it to be marked Wont Fix because they... well 'do not care' actually appears to understate it, Poettering quotes I have seen indicate he is actively antagonistic on the point.

Irrelevant is the word, unfortunately

Posted Jun 16, 2014 22:09 UTC (Mon) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

It's perfectly fine to use systemd without any of the optional features. If you want to claim otherwise cite your concrete evidence to back that up.

Irrelevant is the word, unfortunately

Posted Jul 9, 2014 2:20 UTC (Wed) by hitmark (guest, #34609) [Link]

Udev?

Seems like a unrelated thing to me, but still joined at the him thanks to forced surgery...

Irrelevant is the word, unfortunately

Posted Jun 16, 2014 21:05 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> Each distribution might use their own init but these are still inits - they do that one job, not everything else, and you CAN easily swap them in and out to replace each other - on slack for instance we have a custom sysV init (but with BSD syntax) but that can be swapped out for e.g. runit, or OpenRC relatively easily.

With all the correct dependency resolution and handling of corner cases. Yeah, sure.

About the only thing you can do somewhat portably are simple daemons with no non-trivial dependencies.

> So the way I see it, we have a great big *nix ecosystem that includes the BSDs and the Linuces and anything else that wants to be compatible, but the bigger players (Redhat and Canonical) do not want to be compatible with it anymore.
There is too much difference for the sake of difference alone. As someone who packages a proprietary software for multiple distros I can only say 'kill them all with fire'. Or may be "nuke them from orbit, it's the only way to be sure".

There's a reason why distributions are switching to systemd in droves. And it's not because RedHat forces them to do this at gunpoint - it's because systemd is so damn useful. I've just switched my servers from Debian to RHEL7 and it's like day and night - systemd is so helpful that switching back to SysV is like descending into a stone age.

So 'hobbyists' can continue to slide into irrelevance or they can adapt. Either by creating something that can rival systemd or by working to make systemd acceptable for their use-cases.

Irrelevant is the word, unfortunately

Posted Jun 18, 2014 4:17 UTC (Wed) by Arker (guest, #14205) [Link]

"As someone who packages a proprietary software for multiple distros"

Well there's the problem! ;)

Packaging proprietary software is not a use-case that Free Software should be supporting to begin with.

Irrelevant is the word, unfortunately

Posted Jun 18, 2014 12:36 UTC (Wed) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

> Packaging proprietary software is not a use-case that Free Software should be supporting to begin with.

I think you need to read the four freedoms again. As opinionated as RMS is, he still allowed proprietary software use in there (even if he doesn't agree with it, he didn't blacklist it at that level).

As bad as some RPMs are, they're better (on the whole) than those installable tarball-in-a-shell-script things.

Irrelevant is the word, unfortunately

Posted Jun 18, 2014 13:40 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Sure. And Free Software also doesn't need users. And hardware to run. And developers.

Irrelevant is the word, unfortunately

Posted Jul 9, 2014 2:31 UTC (Wed) by hitmark (guest, #34609) [Link]

Linking udev and systemd at the hip probably helped quite a bit...


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