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Ask Slashdot: Practical Alternatives To Systemd?

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the going-forward dept.

Debian 533

First time accepted submitter systemDead (3645325) writes "I looked mostly with disinterest at Debian's decision last February to switch to systemd as the default init system for their future operating system releases. The Debian GNU/Linux distribution is, after all, famous for allowing users greater freedom to choose what system components they want to install. This appeared to be the case with the init system, given the presence of packages such as sysvinit-core, upstart, and even openrc as alternatives to systemd.

Unfortunately, while still theoretically possible, installing an alternative init system means doing without a number of useful, even essential system programs. By design, systemd appears to be a full-blown everything-including-the-kitchen-sink solution to the relatively simple problem of starting up a Unix-like system. Systemd, for example, is a hard-coded dependency for installing Network Manager, probably the most user-friendly way for a desktop Linux system to connect to a wireless or wired network. Just this week, I woke up to find out that systemd had become a dependency for running PolicyKit, the suite of programs responsible for user privileges and permissions in a typical Linux desktop.

I was able to replace Network Manager with connman, a lightweight program originally developed for mobile devices. But with systemd infecting even the PolicyKit framework, I find myself faced with a dilemma. Should I just let systemd take over my entire system, or should I retreat to my old terminal-based computing in the hope that the horde of the systemDead don't take over the Linux kernel itself?

What are your plans for working with or working around systemd? Are there any mainstream GNU/Linux distros that haven't adopted and have no plans of migrating to systemd? Or is migrating to one of the bigger BSD systems the better and more future-proof solution?"

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Accept, don't fight, systemd (3, Insightful)

Bryan Ischo (893) | about 5 months ago | (#46951871)

Whether you love, hate, or are ambivalent about systemd, I think you have to accept it at this point. If there are things you don't like about it, trying to use an alternate init mechanism is only going to cause you personal grief that will likely only increase in severity over time as it gets harder and harder to retrofit software packages to use other init systems as systemd further embeds itself into the Linux software world.

If there are things you don't understand about systemd, you should read as much as you can to try to figure it out for yourself, and if you can't, you should write up coherent questions and post them in the appropriate forum for help (what is the appropriate forum? I don't know - someone jump in here and help me out. I personally often have no idea where the best place is to ask questions about things like systemd).

If there are things you don't like about systemd, you should write up coherent bug reports or feature requests, and get them in front of the right people (once gain, someone jump in here and say who these people are and how to get these types of requests out there, I actually don't know). Or better yet, make the improvements to systemd yourself if you are capable of doing so.

Your goal should be to improve both systemd itself and your knowledge of how to use it to the point where it is something you are happy to use, not work around it. By hook and by crook, systemd has become the standard way of doing many things in a typical Linux system and it's time for all of us to just accept that and to make forward progress. It's too late to try to work against systemd; it's time to "embrace and extend".

If systemd is so onerous to you that you can't use Linux anymore, then I guess BSD is a possible solution for you. But who knows, maybe BSD will eventually adopt systemd as well?

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46951973)

Don't hold your breath that BSD will adopt systemd. Maybe FreeBSD, but they are basically Linux flavoured BSD anyway. But the _serious_ 4.4BSD based systems just don't see the need, and are happy with the few lines of code that makes up a safe init.

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (3, Informative)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | about 5 months ago | (#46952111)

Also, Lennart Poettering has noted he doesn't care about support anything !Linux, even if someone else maintains the code.

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952671)

To the point where they aggressively refuse to support anything but glibc - too bad if you want to use uClibc.

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952719)

Also, Lennart Poettering has noted he doesn't care about support anything !Linux, even if someone else maintains the code.

First technical: with OpenSSH the OpenBSD guys have clearly shown that this is the correct approach. Write correctly for one platform and have a second team write a compatibility layer.

Second attitude: this is the same fucked up anti-user attitude as the Gnome people. If this was a bunch of hobbyists writing their new operating system hypervisor in Haskell for fun then I wouldn't care, however these are a bunch of serious people actually paid by RedHat. What would it cost them to say something like "hey guys, we don't have time but we would love your help with this"

Third reality: recently I messed up my systemd based system. Finding "systemctl -xb" you just realise that there actually is something neat about the system being able to understand it's own logs. Finding out that your system is failing to boot because of one directory permission (/var to the wrong user) and that it doesn't start a shell at all or anything you can debug with is just disappointing.

Sysemd is both better and worse than everything before it at the same time. There are a bunch of brilliant ideas. Someone need to refactor it instead of just complaining about it. Implement the exactly same functionality in a system which has a tiny init process. When you do that you will rove that Lennart is wrong. At the same time you will also prove that some of his ideas are right.

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952655)

Maybe FreeBSD, but they are basically Linux flavoured BSD anyway.

You know nothing about FreeBSD.

BSDs and systemd (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952729)

Don't hold your breath that BSD will adopt systemd. Maybe FreeBSD, but they are basically Linux flavoured BSD anyway. But the _serious_ 4.4BSD based systems just don't see the need, and are happy with the few lines of code that makes up a safe init.

None of the BSDs, not even FreeBSD, will use systemd.

FreeBSD has incorporated NetBSD's rc.d system, and they'll be going with that for the forseeable future:

https://www.freebsd.org/doc/en/articles/rc-scripting/index.html

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952019)

99 % of people I've heard that dislikes System D had never used it. 1 % had used it and complained on things which turned out to be bugs.

No... (4, Informative)

Junta (36770) | about 5 months ago | (#46952131)

There are significant numbers of people who understand it just perfectly and have valid criticisms that are not bugs.

http://ewontfix.com/14/ [ewontfix.com]

The systemd team has pissed of Torvalds:
https://lwn.net/Articles/59368... [lwn.net]

Additionally, they repeatedly deny that anyone should have a text log for any reason, dismissing criticisms as 'just hook in syslog *too* as an *optional* thing'. Basically systemd discards decades of sensibilities ecosystem to 'do it better', while throwing out the baby with the bathwater (ditching modularity and portable log data and such).

It's not just that 'if you don't like it, fix it'. People don't like the very fundamental aspects of the design that the systemd did *on purpose*.

Re:No... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952595)

The ewontfix.com/14 article is full of factual errors and was rebunked several times by more knowlegable people. And Linus is pretty easy to piss off, what does that prove?

"If you do not like it, fix it" is still valid. Systemd did up the ante, so it is indeed more work to provide a complete replacement of systemd than it was for systemd to replace sysv init. But then systemd would indeed be poor if it did not provide benefits over previous implementations.

What really amazes me is that people ranting about software starting to depend on systemd does so just to annoy them personally. That is completely stupid: The software depends on systemd since it solves real problems that software used to be facing. When a wide group of developers sees value in using systemd, then maybe reading up on it (past the point where you go "oh, we never did it like that before") might be warranted?

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (1)

hydrofix (1253498) | about 5 months ago | (#46952145)

For that observation to have much any statistical value, you'd had to know over 300 people who used systemd.

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (1)

hydrofix (1253498) | about 5 months ago | (#46952159)

I meant, 300 who had an opinion of systemd. So it would mean 3 people actually used it and found bugs (?)

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (5, Insightful)

armanox (826486) | about 5 months ago | (#46952113)

Wow....someone asks what they can do about having a software package shoved down there throat and your response is just open wide and swallow? I thought this was supposed to be about freedom. Wait, GNU/Linux is about freedom, as long as it's what they want you to do....

On a more serious note, any software that wants UNIX compatibility will keep supporting SystemV/BSD init. I get the distinct feeling that Oracle and especially the BSD guys don't want anything to do with systemD.

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952311)

> shoved down there throat

Where throat?

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952397)

Solaris has it's own abomination called SMF. Good luck debugging network problems on Solaris without a GUI unless you're experienced with SMF. I use Solaris only to maintain my open source projects (I value portable code), and I _hate_ dealing with the system. So convoluted.

The system with the most straightforward configuration and init system, IMO, is OpenBSD. It's soooooooo nice. The only major change in nearly 15 years has been the move to an rc.d/ (init.d-style) startup script directory. Contrast that with number of convoluted changes in Linux administration over those past 15 years, and it seems like a miracle.

If SMF and launchd (OS X) are any indicator, I'm definitely going to hate working with systemd.

(NOTE: I haven't used Slackware since the 1990s, so maybe it's remained stable all these years, too. For Linux I tend to only use Debian and Ubuntu.)

Re: Accept, don't fight, systemd (4, Informative)

Rutulian (171771) | about 5 months ago | (#46952825)

Never used SMF, but systemd is quite a bit better than launchd. The configuration files are all plain text. The major difference from a configuration point of view is that instead of writing a script, you just specify executable information, dependencies, sockets, etc, in a config file. That's it. Doesn't seem like such a big deal to me and in many ways seems quite a bit better than sysV.

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (1)

manichawk (154084) | about 5 months ago | (#46952423)

I get the distinct feeling that Oracle and especially the BSD guys don't want anything to do with systemD.

Sun/Oracle effectively replaced init with SMF [wikipedia.org] back in Solaris 10, so while it isn't systemD, it doesn't mean that all UNIX will be keeping SystemV init alive...

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (4, Interesting)

HiThere (15173) | about 5 months ago | (#46952609)

That Oracle dislikes something isn't a condemnation. It's more nearly a recommendation.

That said, I'm dubious about systemd. I almost understand how to use init. OTOH, I prefer the interface of the pre-grub2 grub to the current one. I assume that there must be SOME benefits to the change, but I haven't found any. I expect to end up feeling the same way about systemd.

Re: Accept, don't fight, systemd (4, Insightful)

Rutulian (171771) | about 5 months ago | (#46952665)

Hate to break it to you, but when you install a distribution, you have a lot of software "shoved down your throat." It is what a distribution is, after all, and has been the case since forever. The maintainers decide what functionality is in the base system, what packages are installed in meta packages, what versions, what optional features to compile in. The only way around it is to use a source distribution like gentoo.

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952697)

Wow....someone asks what they can do about having a software package shoved down there throat and your response is just open wide and swallow?

Exactly. These Linux tards should have continued using MSDOS and Windows. Fucking hypocrits.

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952213)

Systemd is a great tool. It's not all and the kitchen sink. It's comprehensive, but compact. When the idiot linked to an april fools story... Lost my interest.

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952249)

I've never seen a shill with such a low id before ...

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952297)

Whether you love, hate, or are ambivalent about systemd, I think you have to accept it at this point.

Why hello Mr. Chamberlain, I wondered when you'd show up.

If there are things you don't understand about systemd, you should read as much as you can to try to figure it out for yourself, and if you can't, you should write up coherent questions and post them in the appropriate forum for help (what is the appropriate forum? I don't know - someone jump in here and help me out.

For such an influential piece of software driven by such high-falutin' names to be so poorly understandable is a bit of a poor show, wouldn't you agree?

By hook and by crook, systemd has become the standard way of doing many things in a typical Linux system and it's time for all of us to just accept that and to make forward progress. It's too late to try to work against systemd; it's time to "embrace and extend".

How... interesting that you're basically declaring systemd to be gospel and everyone's saviour, when it is but the latest take by people who, let's face it, aren't that great with systems design, and aren't all that responsive to critique. Is that why you are advocating no longer offering critique? They won't listen anyway?

If systemd is so onerous to you that you can't use Linux anymore, then I guess BSD is a possible solution for you.

Too onerous to use, the new standard.

But who knows, maybe BSD will eventually adopt systemd as well?

Then *BSD will cease to be a Unix.

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952781)

For such an influential piece of software driven by such high-falutin' names to be so poorly understandable is a bit of a poor show, wouldn't you agree?

Actually the documentation of systemd is pretty good.

How... interesting that you're basically declaring systemd to be gospel and everyone's saviour, when it is but the latest take by people who, let's face it, aren't that great with systems design, and aren't all that responsive to critique. Is that why you are advocating no longer offering critique? They won't listen anyway?

Systemd is not gospel, it is just so good that distributions and especially 3rd party software like gnome, KDE, polkit and more start to depend on that functionality. Write something better that provides these benefits and they move to your solution.

Then *BSD will cease to be a Unix.

If they don't provide the functionality that is provided by systemd, then they will become even more irrelevant than they are now.

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952333)

You, sir, can go fuck yourself.

I'll continue to stick with it pinned to oblivion until things break too badly, and then I'll find something which doesn't resemble a giant piece of monolithic horse-shit. OpenBSD is looking awfully attractive these days.

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952505)

Amen. I'm the anon who posted "I really don't see what is the problem here" below.

Everyone's motto these days when confronted with *anything* pushed down the throat is "accept it". You people, hurt the human spirit.

ALWAYS, fight, don't accept.

So yes, a big fuck you to the GP.

Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 5 months ago | (#46952713)

"Just accept it. It's inevitable. Just give in. Help make it better instead of fighting it." Yuck. Talk about slimy propaganda. Admittedly, I like the idea of the theoretically better process scheduling using kernel control groups, but the rest is really just overrated.

Hmm (4, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | about 5 months ago | (#46951889)

PolicyKit specifically can be compiled to use consolekit instead of systemd for session tracking (this is actually the default, you have to explicitly compile policykit with systemd support).

Unfortunately this is kind of the downside to binary based package management. Either PolicyKit has to be modified to support both as configurable options, probably involving a maze of symlinks and wrapper scripts, or separate policykit-systemd and policykit-consolekit packages have to be provided.

If Debian has decided to to go with systemd, this is probably going to be a common issue on that distro, as when given the option of compiling something with it, they probably will.

Aside from joining us over on the gentoo side (open-rc is life but using something else is easier as it's just a use flag for most packages), or maintaining your own sizable collection of custom-built packages, don't know what to tell you!

Re:Hmm (4, Interesting)

Tester (591) | about 5 months ago | (#46952133)

PolicyKit specifically can be compiled to use consolekit instead of systemd for session tracking.

Except that, last I heard, Lennart is also the maintainer of ConsoleKit, and he has officially declared it dead in favor of systemd-logind. Seriously, the reason everyone choses systemd is because it's just better. And as a former Gentoo dev with a good knowledge of openrc, systemd is one or two levels above.

Re:Hmm (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952407)

It being "better" is still open to debate no matter how good your knowledge of openrc is. Extra complexity is extra complexity, and making arbitrary choices just because you feel they are superior doesn't actually make them superior or any less arbitrary. If everyone chose systemd, we wouldn't be regularly having these debates.

Re:Hmm (3, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 5 months ago | (#46952517)

And as a former Gentoo dev with a good knowledge of openrc, systemd is one or two levels above.

How? I'm ont being snide. I have an arch system that went through the upgrade. I don't see much difference. Basically none at all. What is, in practice, actually better about it for dat-to day use and administration?

Re:Hmm (0)

Cramer (69040) | about 5 months ago | (#46952551)

No, the reason "everyone" choses systemD is because they don't know any better. (aka. "peer pressure") systemD is a very dangerous weed, designed and maintained by someone with a history of half-assing his projects and ignoring everyone else. It replaces and re-implements a number of well established, stable, very well understood, highly bug free (due to simplicity, and shear age of the code) software packages... that an INIT SYSTEM has no reason to be. I understand the appeal for distro maintainers... demand starting for desktop environments, built-in dependency system, etc. But for the most part, SysVinit handled everything already. (not demand start, but that's very UNIX anyway: in UNIX(tm), things start when they're configured to during boot, or when a USER f***ing starts them.)

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952573)

As a long time Gentoo user, present included, explain your position on this. What benefit do I get with systemd? Cause at the moment, I don't see it.

Re:Hmm (4, Interesting)

strikethree (811449) | about 5 months ago | (#46952839)

I am extremely suspicious of so many folks with 3 digit IDs coming out strongly in favor of the inevitability of systemd.

I strongly dislike systemd and Pottering and I am shocked that Linux is evolving in this way. It seems like a concerted and coordinated effort. It seems like someone is driving a poison dagger deep into the heart of Linux.

I would be interested in hearing why exactly you are in favor of giving up the *nix way? Is "one or two levels above" really worth it when it costs so much more?

Slackware (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46951909)

I reckon slackware is going to be the last man standing on this one.

Re:Slackware (2)

Noryungi (70322) | about 5 months ago | (#46952507)

It's not that clear cut: while Patrick Volkerding and the rest of the crew are clearly against systemd, they may be forced to adopt it in the future.

Sheesh, I love unbiased articles (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46951925)

"horde of the systemDead" - really? That's not biased at all. Oh, also: linking to an April fools article. Sweet.

How does it affect me? (1)

twistedcubic (577194) | about 5 months ago | (#46951939)

How does systems affect me during the minute it takes my computer to boot while I'm making coffee?

Re: How does it affect me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952037)

The benefit is entirely in the dependency model. It may be useless to start and fail ntpd if there is Jo network connection. At the same time, not critical devices can't block startup.

Re: How does it affect me? (2)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | about 5 months ago | (#46952431)

lsb-init gained dependency support like five years ago.

Re:How does it affect me? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952093)

It isn't just the boot. Lennart now calls it "Core OS" and he means it. NetworkManager was crap, admit it. After years it still couldn't do everything the software it replaced did but it no longer matters. Latest systemd now even nukes it and replaces it with a all new Core OS replacement that won't work. Which is part of the pattern of destruction that defines Pottering's way of working. PulseAudio is still mostly broken and that was his first project that got any widespread attention. Guy is leaving a trail of destruction wherever he goes and for some strage reason he being allowed to go everywhere.

Re: How does it affect me? (3, Informative)

vadim_t (324782) | about 5 months ago | (#46952163)

PA actually seems to work great lately. At this point Windows has bad support for Bluetooth headphones, while in Linux it works great.

Re: How does it affect me? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952367)

Off topic, but I'm surprised more people don't complain about this. Whatever they did to Windows sound, they borked it up beyond belief. Headphones accidentally unplugged while playing a game? Most likely, the game has to be restarted. Start up a game, only to find out your headphones weren't actually plugged in? Most likely, the game has to be restarted, if it doesn't crash outright.

Re: How does it affect me? (1)

VVelox (819695) | about 5 months ago | (#46952499)

PulseAudio has nothing to do with the Bluetooth audio support. It is just a sound server and relies on either ALSA or OSS to talk to the hardware.

Re: How does it affect me? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 5 months ago | (#46952593)

PulseAudio has nothing to do with the Bluetooth audio support. It is just a sound server and relies on either ALSA or OSS to talk to the hardware.

No, but if you hot plug things like headphones such as USB and Bluetooth, despite some of the shortcomings of Pulse, it's a massive faff to not use it. Basically I like it except on the machines where it seems to be buggered.

Re: How does it affect me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952727)

Well before I care about Bluetooth I care about getting sound AT ALL. And most of the time I still don't without furious knob frobbing. Dock and it mutes a few channels at random. Undock and it mutes a few channels at random. Activate the Pulse EQ plugin? Yup, lets mute a few random outputs again because it just too much fun! Emphasis on random.

As for Windows, that stopped impacting my world almost two decades ago. Let. It. Burn.

OpenBSD (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46951949)

I was always an OpenBSD fan from the olden days but used Debian a lot due to it's easy of package install / dependency resolution. But now after the work they've been doing on LibreSSL is really making me want to switch back to OpenBSD and give it another try. If you want a minimalist's attitude, then choose OpenBSD, like me! (Just need pkg mgmt tools for it somehow...)

Re:OpenBSD (3, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | about 5 months ago | (#46952487)

How right you are: https://www.google-melange.com... [google-melange.com]

I would trust OpenBSD systemd replacement over the original any day.

SysV is likely to always be supported (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 5 months ago | (#46951951)

SysV is likely to always be supported regardless of what you think of improved init systems. Personally I think systemD is a good thing and combined with wayland is going to close some serious gaps Linux has had for ages.

Honestly if sticking with SysV is so important you can either stop upgrading or you can move to a niche Linux distribution or even move to one of the BSD's.

Re:SysV is likely to always be supported (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952081)

I wish people who wanted windows would just stick to windows instead of infecting linux

Re:SysV is likely to always be supported (5, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 5 months ago | (#46952305)

And I wish people that want Linux to stay frozen would just stop upgrading or move to a system that sure to stay in 1970.

Re:SysV is likely to always be supported (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952125)

The BSDs use the rc init system [openbsd.org] . FreeBSD uses the newer rc.d system [freebsd.org] . Slackware uses one of these systems as well.

Re:SysV is likely to always be supported (2)

Colonel Fahlt (1267662) | about 5 months ago | (#46952203)

Actually, most of the major BSDs use the newer rc.d system. FreeBSD, NetBSD, and DragonFly BSD all use rc.d. OpenBSD is the hold-out.

Re:SysV is likely to always be supported (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952675)

Thanks for clarifying that. Free & Open are the two BSDs I use. Not much of DF & Net these days.

Re:SysV is likely to always be supported (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952209)

stop upgrading

Because there aren't enough hosed Linux boxes churning out metric tons of spam already out there.

Re:SysV is likely to always be supported (1)

Saei (3133199) | about 5 months ago | (#46952239)

He said upgrading and not updating, to be pedantic about it.

I wrote OpenRC (5, Informative)

UberLord (631313) | about 5 months ago | (#46952089)

And now I use NetBSD.

systemd also has its own NetworkManager wanna be in the making as well. I also dislike this.

For shameless plug I currently maintain dhcpcd which does your DHCP, IPv4LL, IPv6RS and DHCPv6. Other nicities like carrier detection, SSID and ARP profiles, routing preferences all come as standard. All in 155k. For kicks there is even a basic GTK+ system tray notification widget that also talks to wpa supplicant to allow wireless network selection and password entry.

Re:I wrote OpenRC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952219)

OpenRC was garbage, congrats.

Re:I wrote OpenRC (1)

SocialEngineer (673690) | about 5 months ago | (#46952313)

Glad to see dhcpcd is still being maintained. I rarely use *nix anymore (I do design and audio recording using software that doesn't always play well in Wine; it's easier to just make use of Windows for now, although I may be putting a Linux/BSD distro back on my laptop), but if it weren't for the clean and simple functionality of dhcpcd, I would've had fits doing networking way back when.

Re:I wrote OpenRC (4, Insightful)

crow (16139) | about 5 months ago | (#46952649)

Thanks for OpenRC. I *love* how it works on my Gentoo system. The ability to load custom variables for any script with /etc/conf.d files is wonderful.

I've gone a bit crazy with my /etc/conf.d/net, automatically setting up a ssh tunnel home if it sees that it's on an outside network (and trying several methods to get the tunnel working). If it's on ethernet, it switches the WiFi to being an access point. Lots of fun. I just wish the preup()/postup() functions were part of all the init scripts, not just the net script.

I also make use of /lib/dhcpcd-hooks to clean things up if the local network is unfriendly. If the provided DNS server mangles entries for non-existent domains, and if it doesn't block Google, it switches over transparently in my local script.

The paradigm of letting the user modify the behavior through regular shell scripts is extremely powerful. Thanks for keeping it alive.

Too much integration (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952127)

with Gnome and other bits for my liking. This is like PulseAudio. It's not that good and it seems everyone is adopting it. The issue with FOSS is the desire for change that is too quick rather than fixing what works. LILO, for example. While GRUB is great, LILO worked fine for me and in fact, it still used by many distros. FOSS has become bloated like its commercial counterpart.

Recently I installed the still-in-alpha Haiku OS because I miss BeOS (still). The entire OS installed in less than 2 minutes. Talk about *fast*. It it were not for the lack of decent software, I would make the move today. Haikuware does have some great software, though. BeOS was awesome and kept it simple. Written from the ground up to remove the mistakes traditional UNIX and Linux were/are still making.

Re:Too much integration (5, Insightful)

Cramer (69040) | about 5 months ago | (#46952413)

To be fair, LILO is very primitive and sensitive. It doesn't read filesystems; it has an installed map (the result of running lilo) that lists the exact blocks to load for a given entry. You cannot load anything that's not in its map. Touch any of those blocks and it can fall apart. GRUB was a vast improvement, but also adds a great deal of complexity. (GRUB2 even more so.)

Emacs (3, Funny)

Hugonz (20064) | about 5 months ago | (#46952177)

RMS must be grinning, Linux has finally implementes Emacs as its startup system.

Re:Emacs (3, Insightful)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | about 5 months ago | (#46952255)

Not yet, but eventually [gnu.org] . Systemd has all of the bloat of emacs, without any of the benefits.

Re:Emacs (1)

Noryungi (70322) | about 5 months ago | (#46952535)

Hence, the old joke: "Actually, Emacs is a pretty decent operating system. Shame it does not have a good text editor, though".

Linux no longer wants to even look like Unix (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952181)

Your immediate recourse is, indeed, to try and sample the *BSD offerings. Their rc.conf approach I find a lot simpler to deal with than sysv's kludgy linkfarming ever was. It works very well without imposing all sorts of requirements on the rest of the system.

But the problem is political, and so the solution isn't technical. On the political side, I'm highly annoyed by the approach that resulted in this damage, but it's actually endemic in the linux world: Identify problem, then go berserk on the over-re-design-engineering like you're deliberately aiming for a strong case of second-system effect. One (and my pet-) example is the "better replacements" to their broken ifconfig, incompatible with everyone else (and three mutually incompatible attempts down the road there's no end in sight), but there are many more. The latest batch just have taken the previous failures to new heights of technically working incompetence.

What is new-ish is that the damage is spreading, in the sense that by design systemd is linux-only yet now various programs that previously worked on Unix in general are starting to depend on it. Apparently a certain bunch of influential people in the linux-sphere want to become their own vendor-lock-in-enabled bubble, to be the next redmond. This is... not good.

There really is very little recourse other than starting your own lobby war to stop the bunch. Because the problem is mostly politican, the technical side is but a symptom, almost a sideshow.

Without political pressure, soon linux will be akin to macosx, except with poorer code quality and less unified design: Technically some Unix-heritage, in practice it's its own thing, incompatible with the world. So if you'd like a Unix, your route is to *BSD. If not, you can stay and put up with the slowly mounting pile of crap of which systemd is but one thing, if possibly a tipping point-inducing thing. The *BSD people will still have to find some sort of answer, and soon, or they'll have to decide that everything depending on systemd+friends will be a lost cause anyhow and find alternative software with similar functionality, for the current crop no longer works outside of this brave new linux.

Slackware (5, Informative)

syzler (748241) | about 5 months ago | (#46952183)

Slackware is an alternative mainstream Linux distribution which does not use systemd. Instead of systemd, it uses a combination of custom rc scripts and sysvinit. If Slackware ever adopts systemd as the default system init, they would likely lose most of their user base.

Re:Slackware (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952291)

I'll second Slackware. I'm happy with the direction they've gone in, so I'll be sticking with them.

Re:Slackware (2)

Noryungi (70322) | about 5 months ago | (#46952559)

Go Slack!

Re:Slackware (2)

ls671 (1122017) | about 5 months ago | (#46952759)

"Slackware is an alternative mainstream Linux distribution"
Funny that one of the oldest distribution (1993) has become an "alternative" one...

I use Slackware since 1995 and I have viewed it as "alternative" before ;-)

Re:Slackware (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about 5 months ago | (#46952793)

Damn,

I meant:
I use Slackware since 1995 and I have never viewed it as "alternative" before ;-)

Slackware (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952189)

If you really must avoid systemd, then Slackware is probably the way to go. Alternatively, FreeBSD/PC-BSD are prettly much safe from ever getting systemd. For now you could stick with Debian Stable or Ubuntu LTS, both of them will run for years on the older init systems. So, really, you are pretty safe from systemd for at least three to five years, even in the Debian/Ubuntu corner of the Linux ecosystem.

But, really, you might ask yourself why go to all the trouble? Is it a philosophy issue? Is it just hating change? Is there something technical causing problems with your computer that is caused by systemd? A lot of people claim to hate it, but rarely give any practical reasons. Sure, there are plenty of philosophical issues with systemd (and lots of personal issues where its developers are concerned), but take a good long look at why you don't like systemd before you try to avoid it.

Confused (1)

Saei (3133199) | about 5 months ago | (#46952191)

I'm not sure what the issue is here.

If you're looking to avoid using systemd, move to a distro that doesn't use systemd. (I think Mint still uses upstart and Gentoo uses openrc.) Otherwise, do the legwork to support the init system you want to use.

same boat for a lot of Linux users. (4, Interesting)

nimbius (983462) | about 5 months ago | (#46952199)

Im currently running Gentoo. it offers systemd as a package and ive even run it a few times with success. What it offers, along with uefi, is a chance to drastically speed up the boot process but at a cost to the Linux ethos of 'do one thing and do it well.' Im just as conflicted, and seeing as i work in a RedHat shop i fear ill have to start using it eventually. TFA from sporkbox in the summary highlights the major pain points of systemd quite nicely but the other problem it poses is the homogenization of linux and what that means to numerous Linux community members personally. Linux used to be about choice, but so many distros are systemd/gnome/networkmangler now that its almost horrifying. I get that a unified platform is the key to a 'year of the linux desktop' but the sense of alienation and loss that systemd imparts is very palpable for many of us.

Back on topic though, Gentoos commitment to choice means you can run OpenRC. Its a fine time-tested alternative to SystemDoEverything and while your coworkers might be confused by it, at least you wont have to hack through binlogs for ages to fix a problem in it. You're best not trying to hack out systemd or any of its dependencies in distros like Fedora or Ubuntu as theyre basically so intrinsic to the OS as to render it useless if removed.

Sorry i cant offer more closure for the issue, I hope someone in the thread can though. For me i worry in another ten years ill be deploying machines that are exclusively systemd, quietly muttering the free software lyric, 'You'll be free, hackers, you'll be free.'

Re:same boat for a lot of Linux users. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952327)

I don't want the cancerous systemd. I'm tired of posting why, and I'm sure people who avoid it already know why. I will stick to Gentoo and Slackware until either it fails or it microsoftizes linux enough to push me to bsd.

I find it very troubling that a single company has managed to push down our throats software that critically pollutes the whole linux ecosystem just because it benefits their product roadmap. If microsoft had planned this it couldn't have made it better.

Re:same boat for a lot of Linux users. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952501)

Using the term "SystemDoEverything" just means you've bought into the hype of the naysayers without actually understanding anything about what systemd does. That's too bad. In reality, systemd completely embraces the time-honored unix concept of "Do one thing, and do it well." If you actually look at systemd, you'll see that there is no One Binary That Does Everything. Systemd is a pretty big collection of binaries, that each do one thing really well.

I am doing embedded engineering and have implemented systemd across all of my embedded projects now (4 separate projects in total, each massively business critical). I have seen huge improvements in traceability of the boot process, speed, correctness and am overall very pleased. I also appreciate that it is *highly* modular. Anything you don't like, just don't compile it. We now get process monitoring and restart for free (used to be a separate, buggy, daemon).

Overall, when I read any of these threads, I typically just see people repeating the same tired old crap and they have obviously not done any research because most of the main points are simply not true.

Re:same boat for a lot of Linux users. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952623)

Using the term "SystemDoEverything" just means you've bought into the hype of the naysayers without actually understanding anything about what systemd does. That's too bad. In reality, systemd completely embraces the time-honored unix concept of "Do one thing, and do it well." If you actually look at systemd, you'll see that there is no One Binary That Does Everything. Systemd is a pretty big collection of binaries, that each do one thing really well.

The point isn't about individual binaries, it's about being able to use different implementations interchangeably. Go ahead and try to run systemd without journald. Or run logind without systemd. You'll find it's actually quite monolithic, just not in the sense of all one binary. It's like the Linux kernel being a monolithic kernel -- just because you have kernel modules doesn't change that.

Re:same boat for a lot of Linux users. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952639)

I would be interested to hear more about how the issues listed at ewontfix [ewontfix.com] are incorrect. (Not sarcastic; if they're wrong, I would like to know.)

Re:same boat for a lot of Linux users. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952681)

"systemd" is actually a pretty big collection of tools that do "one thing and do it well". In fact most do their thing better than the tools that used to do it. Just think about the mess we had to go through to implement a UI to change the systemtime or timezone!

You are free, hacker: Implement something better. Bitching about something on the internet will for sure not help.

launchd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952205)

systemd is just an inferior version of launchd [apple.com] .

Re:launchd (1)

McKing (1017) | about 5 months ago | (#46952317)

And both systemd and launchd are inferior versions of SMF [wikipedia.org] from Solaris.

Re:launchd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952463)

I suspect that the people responsible for systemd never even thought to look at already-existing alternatives, and just wanted to push their weight around and implement whatever the hell they felt like implementing. Every argument I have or read about systemd makes it clear that they are not interested in adhering to age-old paradigms of modularity and simplicity, nor of even empowering the user with choice. The result is a black-box init system that intimidates users from messing with it.

Re:launchd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952547)

launchd cannot be an inferior version of SMF considering that launchd predates SMF. Launchd came out in 2005. SMF didn't come out until 2006.

Re:launchd (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 5 months ago | (#46952549)

And all of them are inferior versions of sysvinit. ;)

GNU Is Working on It (2)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | about 5 months ago | (#46952231)

See Daemon Managing Daemon [gnu.org] . It was written in the early-00s for the Hurd, languished for the better part of a decade, and has been picked up again. It has a model kind of like systemd, only without the Windows braindamage (I mean come on, ini files as a programming language [lwn.net] ?). Development on DMD is pretty active now [gnu.org] , and it's written in Scheme instead of C so mere mortals can hack on it. The design is pretty interesting, and makes extending things easy. E.g. imagine you run an openafs cell and need a service to grab Kerberos tickets and afs tokens at start. You can just register interest in the service in another service and have it Just Work (tm). From the looks of it, you may even be able to just write a single "Kerberize all the services" service. Better than sysvinit (oh joy, forking an init script) and better than systemd (oh joy, forking an ini-file-pretending-its-not-a-program)..

Don't like it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952301)

Write your own. The source code is out there - fix what you don't like.

Re:Don't like it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952345)

With this software that doesn't work... on purpose.

alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952349)

there is always BSD for servers and gentoo for desktops

depinit (4, Informative)

lkcl (517947) | about 5 months ago | (#46952351)

depinit. written by richard lightman because he too did not trust the overcomplexity of sysv initscripts and wanted parallelism, it was adopted by linux from scratch and seriously considered for adoption in gentoo at the time. richard is extremely reclusive and his web site is now offline: you can get a copy of depinit however using archive.org.

using depinit in 2006 i had a boot to X11 on a 1ghz pentium in 17 seconds, and a shutdown time of under three. depinit has two types of services: one is the "legacy" service (supporting old style /etc/init.d/backgrounddaemon) and the other relied on stdin and stdout redirection. in depinit you can not only chain services together for their dependencies but also chain their *stdin and stout* _and_ stderr together.

that has some very interesting implications. for example: rather than have some stupid system which monitors /var/log/apache2/logfile for security alerts or /var/log/auth.log for sshd attacks, what you do is run sshd or apache2 as a *foreground* service outputting log messages to stderr, chained to a "security analysis" service which then chains to a log file service.

the "security analysis" service could then *immediately* check the output looking for unauthorised logins and *immediately* ban repeat offenders by blocking their IP address, rather than having to either poll the files (with associated delays and/or CPU untilisation) or have some insane complex monitoring of inodes which _still_ has associated delays.

also depinit catches *all* signals - not just a few - and allows services to be activated based on those signals. richard also had a break-in on one system, and they deployed the usual fork-and-continue trick, so he wrote some code which allowed the service-stopping code to up the agressiveness on hunting down and killing child processes. this also turned out to be very useful in cases where services went a bit awry.

basically the list of innovations that richard added to depinit is very very long, in what is actually an extremely small amount of code. i simply haven't the space to list them all, and no, richard was not a fan of network-manager either.

btw you might also want to look at the replacement for /bin/login that richard wrote. it was f****g awesome. basically what he did was use gpg key passphrases as the login credentials.... and ran gpg-agent automatically as part of the *login*. i have never even seen a PAM module which does this trick. it would be awesome to do the same trick for ssh as well.

it's fascinating what someone can get up to when they have the programming skill and the logical reasoning abilities to analyse existing systems that everyone else takes for granted, work out that those sytems are actually not up to scratch and can write their *own* replacements. it's just such a pity that nobody seems to have noticed what he achieved.

Re:depinit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952779)

LOL

"i have never even seen a PAM module which does this trick. it would be awesome to do the same trick for ssh as well."
you mean like pam_ssh for ssh keys or if you just want it to work with gpg and ssh you could also run the gnome key manager as I do.
True single sign on with all ssh and gpg keys.

Alpine linux (1)

staalmannen (1705340) | about 5 months ago | (#46952359)

I am currently playing around with Alpine linux, musl libc + busybox + openrc. I like it a lot - a binary package management similar to Arch linux.

what's wrong with systemd (2)

Rutulian (171771) | about 5 months ago | (#46952361)

First, I have to ask, what is wrong with systemd? It actually works quite well.

That said, even with systemd (and upstart), sysV scripts are supported for backwards compatibility because quite a few system services do not yet have a systemd startup script. I have not looked at the networkmanager or policykit packages, but I am almost certain the dependency is only because of the startup script. If you grab a sysV script, you won't need systemd to install them. This will likely require some voodoo with the package manager, though. My recommendations in order of ease,
    1) use --force to ignore the dependency (this might great problems if you ever have to repair the dpkg database, though)
    2) grab another package from some other distro and install (with alien if need be)
    3) tweak the package yourself to remove the dependency (wouldn't be hard to maintain wrt updates, etc)
    4) compile from source and install (create your own package for maintainability)

Re:what's wrong with systemd (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | about 5 months ago | (#46952523)

5) fork the distro of your choice and build all packages with smarter dependencies (or to depend on the packages of your choice)

Re:what's wrong with systemd (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 5 months ago | (#46952785)

5) fork the distro of your choice and build all packages with smarter dependencies (or to depend on the packages of your choice)

Or run Gentoo, which generally does just that. :)

Systemd is becoming more and more mainstream on Gentoo, and I suspect that at some point it will take over as the default. However, I doubt support for openrc is going away anytime soon.

I think OpenRC is about as good as a traditional sysvinit/rc implementation is going to get. It is definitely superior to what most distros were using before upstart and systemd came along. However, I don't really see it keeping pace with systemd at this point.

Re:what's wrong with systemd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952589)

First, I have to ask, what is wrong with systemd?

You answered your own question.

sysV scripts are supported for backwards compatibility

I really don't see what is the problem here (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952385)

I've pinned systemd in apt to -1 (so it won't ever install on my machines). So far i didn't have any problem. Debian will continue to support sysv for years and years, and in that timeframe this silly systemd fad will have passed away, and people eventually regain their minds and (hopefully) balls.

This "inevitability" horse shit is that: horse shit. Linux is equally useful without systemd, provided you have a mininum of experience.

Re:I really don't see what is the problem here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46952411)

Oh and I have to add: I'm also saying goodbye to most redhatisms like NetworkManager, *kits, and pulseaudio. Gnome went to the toilet since the gnome3 debacle. The fact that everyone loves to quack insanity shouldn't instill feelings of desperation my friend. Things come and go, including all the sillyness around the linux ecosystem in the last years.

I've been toying with rolling my own distro (1)

bferrell (253291) | about 5 months ago | (#46952433)

I've also been considered insane from time to time.

What I want:

1.) rpm/zypper/yum based package management. This allows rpm dependency resolution and installed package verification by the package manager.
2.) SysV init. It's clean and it "just" works.

I think those two are a good start. Being able to use an established automated build system is probably a good idea too.

    Any other thoughts?

Why do distros so often change the way they init? (1)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about 5 months ago | (#46952585)

It feels like every few years, distros switch to a new way of doing things.

Why not just improve on whatever the current way is, and evolve it into the perfect init, rather than switch to an entirely new system so often? It annoys current sysadmins who have to learn new software for no good reason, it introduces bugs that make systems less stable, and it further breaks/fragments compatibility between distros.

Plenty (0, Troll)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 months ago | (#46952805)

Ask Slashdot: Practical Alternatives To Systemd?

Install Windows or OS X or some other OS that isn't still working on the basic plumbing. I read articles like this and think, nope still not time for me to return to Linux. Please get it sorted out before Windows 7 is EOL'd though, I might need you again....

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