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posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday February 26 2014, @12:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the Boot-him?-I-just-met-him! dept.

jbernardo writes:

"Having had several issues with systemd, and really not liking the philosophy behind it, I am looking into alternatives. I really prefer something that follows the Unix philosophy of using small, focused, and independent tools, with a clear interface. Unfortunately, my favourite distro, Arch Linux, is very much pro-systemd, and a discussion of alternatives is liable to get you banned for a month from their forums. There is an effort to support openrc, but it is still in its infancy and without much support.

So, what are the alternatives, besides Gentoo? Preferably binary... I'd rather have something like arch, with quick updates, cutting edge, but I've already used a lot in the past Mandrake, RedHat, SourceMage, Debian, Kubuntu, and so on, so the package format or the package management differences don't scare me."

[ED Note: I'm imagining FreeBSD sitting in the room with the all the Linux distros he mentioned being utterly ignored like Canada in Hetalia.]

 
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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by mtrycz on Wednesday February 26 2014, @01:00PM

    by mtrycz (60) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @01:00PM (#7261)

    Can the submitter at least provide a resonable argument as to what is wrong with systemd, and why does it matter? "I don't really like it" is not an argument.

    Stop assuming I'm up to date with all of the systems.

    --
    In capitalist America, ads view YOU!
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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by jbernardo on Wednesday February 26 2014, @01:23PM

    by jbernardo (300) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @01:23PM (#7268)

    Well, a quick google for "what is wrong with systemd" gave several hits. One of the most comprehensive is here - http://www.linuxadvocates.com/2013/04/systemd-new- pulseaudio.html [linuxadvocates.com] - but for me, the final straw was that I was unable to boot a pc because the clock got reset somehow. "fsck -a" kept failing, as the last modify date was in the future, and systemd kept restarting it, never getting to a recovery console. Then I found out that passing "single" in the kernel command line isn't recognized by systemd - there is now some .target syntax, for some stupid reason.
    So that was the final straw for me - but that wasn't the question. I don't want to get into the typical discussion around systemd.
    The question is what linux, binary alternative distros are there?
    I know I can switch to BSD, I've done SourceMage scripts automating the LFS "recipes" to build openoffice, java, etc., but I'd rather have pre-built binaries for the family laptops and netbooks.
    So, what alternatives do have, with the linux kernel?

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Desler on Wednesday February 26 2014, @01:38PM

      by Desler (880) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @01:38PM (#7270)

      While that link may sound great you should realize the same person made a complete 180 after writing it. You can read their current opinion here [linuxadvocates.com]:

      Seriously, systemd is a foregone conclusion and while it took time for me to digest the technical issues during the past year, I do see its importance.

      Basically most of the systemd hate is from mostly people who have never used it and are simply riding the "We hate Lennart" wave.

      • (Score: 1) by Eunuchswear on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:48PM

        by Eunuchswear (525) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:48PM (#7304) Journal

        And his change of mind just goes to show he's still an idiot who doesn't get it.

        A guy who says his distro is "fuduntu" "a fork of Fedora 14" spouts:

        It's really border-line funny how Debian committees work through the pros and cons of adopting Upstart vs. systemd.

        Do these Folks realize they are running the risk of becoming irrelevant in their inaction while the earth continues to turn on its axis.

        Or have I fallen for a Poe?

        --
        Watch this Heartland Institute video [youtube.com]
        • (Score: 2, Informative) by Desler on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:08PM

          by Desler (880) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:08PM (#7322)

          Dieter no longer uses Fuduntu as the distro is DOA and he had an internet nerd spat with its creator.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:49PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:49PM (#7305)

        Said article does not refute any of the reasons as to why systemd i crap. It just labels systemd a foregone conclusion, as in "Give up, the start menu is gone, just get used to Modern UI".

        For those of us who like to be able to configure our systems to our likings, the choice is not between systemd or upstart. It's between finding a Linux distro that sticks to the unix philosophy, or skipping to FreeBSD.

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:39PM

          by VLM (445) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:39PM (#7495)

          "It's between finding a Linux distro that sticks to the unix philosophy, or skipping to FreeBSD."

          systemd does have the smell of an "embrace extend extinguish", doesn't it?

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by jbernardo on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:41PM

        by jbernardo (300) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:41PM (#7462)

        Basically most of the systemd hate is from mostly people who have never used it and are simply riding the "We hate Lennart" wave.

        And it is because this is usually how systemd defenders answer criticism that I don't want to discuss why I don't like it. I just want an alternative.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by drussell on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:13PM

      by drussell (2678) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:13PM (#7324) Journal

      I know I can switch to BSD, I've done SourceMage scripts automating the LFS "recipes" to build openoffice, java, etc., but I'd rather have pre-built binaries for the family laptops and netbooks.

      Something tells me you haven't really tried FreeBSD much. As a FreeBSD user since 1.x without a single Linux box running here (7x FreeBSD and 1x Windows 2000 powered and running here at this moment, for example) I really don't understand what you mean. Pre-compiled binaries are (and have always been) available for download for virtually every FreeBSD 'port' in the ports collection. You can install an application from source (using the FreeBSD 'ports' system) with a single command. You can install an application from binary package (the packaged version of the port) with a single command. You can even build your own local copy of the package from the ports system with a single command.

      All of the Linux package systems are really variations and derivatives of the original FreeBSD ports/packages system....

      Where's the hard part?

      • (Score: 1) by dbot on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:57PM

        by dbot (1811) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:57PM (#7354) Journal

        Where's the hard part?

        I got into FreeBSD around 4.4-RELEASE, so I'm not quite as old school. I'd be interested on what your thoughts are on the following, and if you have anything constructive to add:

        https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?sid=301&thresh old=0&commentsort=0&mode=thread&pid=7262#7325 [soylentnews.org]

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by jbernardo on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:51PM

        by jbernardo (300) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:51PM (#7403)

        I know I can switch to BSD, I've done SourceMage scripts automating the LFS "recipes" to build openoffice, java, etc., but I'd rather have pre-built binaries for the family laptops and netbooks.

        Something tells me you haven't really tried FreeBSD much.

        Sorry, seems like I mangled two phrases into one. I intended to say that for binaries I can switch to BSD, and that source distros don't scare me as I have experience with them, but I'd rather have a linux binary distro. I know FreeBSD has binaries. I apologise for the confusion.

        • (Score: 1) by drussell on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:57PM

          by drussell (2678) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:57PM (#7472) Journal

          Sorry, seems like I mangled two phrases into one. I intended to say that for binaries I can switch to BSD, and that source distros don't scare me as I have experience with them, but I'd rather have a linux binary distro. I know FreeBSD has binaries. I apologise for the confusion.

          Ah, I understand what you were saying... I had misread. No problem. :)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:27PM (#7451)

      Slackware.

    • (Score: 1) by bluefoxicy on Monday March 10 2014, @10:56PM

      by bluefoxicy (3739) on Monday March 10 2014, @10:56PM (#14339)

      All of this sounds like paradigm shift.

      I know folks who have embraced systemd and found it extremely useful. As with everything that's survived to replace a prior thing, systemd seems to be starting with a "large effort, small return" curve: it takes a lot of effort to make systemd work all the time, and in the end you're just trying to get it to do the same thing as everything else.

      The thing with paradigm shifts is they happen because of the opposite. You start with high effort, low return; you hit low effort, high return; then you hit diminishing returns, where you apply much more effort for much smaller gains.

      I remember when devfs faced this kind of mass pushback. Then it was hotplug, which became useful but was usurped by the hated udev, which is now accepted and is extremely important for a working system actually capable of most of what we have now--such as mounting a USB drive writable by a particular user just because that user happens to be the one at the currently active console. Each of these represented a paradigm shift where a prior approach was suddenly painful and clunky, but where the new approach was unrefined and took some effort.

      What systemd started as, from what I can tell, is a new init system. You know that whole 'service vsftpd status' 'vsftpd is dead (pid file exists but process is dead)' thing? Well with systemd, you can tell it to restart things. You can configure it so that it takes a host of actions when a service dies, restarting or reloading other services. You can configure dependencies better. The hotplug system even allows for resource-based dependencies: reload proftpd or apache when a new network interface comes up if you want.

      I suspect that some time in the near future we will see systemd not only replace the current infrastructure, but also become much better. It will polish its existing features, and distribution maintainers will ship with better support--better default configurations, as they needed with hotplug and udev. That means someone needs to write up init scripts, dependencies, automated actions and reactions, and so on.

      After that, systemd will finally surpass ... what is it now, upstart? And people will talk about how it's so much better than all those old, clunky systems that were cobbled together near the end.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Desler on Wednesday February 26 2014, @01:40PM

    by Desler (880) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @01:40PM (#7271)

    There is no real argument beyond Lennart hate and acting like the "Unix philosophy" is some sort of infallible orthodoxy.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by WillR on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:50PM

      by WillR (2012) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:50PM (#7307)
      Heretic!

      The UNIX Way shall not be questioned. What was best for a university time-sharing system in 1974 is clearly also best for a single user laptop in 2014.
      • (Score: 1) by gawdonblue on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:59PM

        by gawdonblue (412) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:59PM (#7511)

        What worked on a university time-sharing system in 1974 has worked even on laptops until now (or I couldn't be typing this). But is what is best for the single user laptop in 2014 best for everything else?

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @09:11PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @09:11PM (#7566)
      So, asking for modular code instead of monolithic code is a bad thing? Using standard tools is a bad thing? Using standard idioms is a bad thing? When you can explain why monolithic is better than modular (maintainable, extensible, clear separation of concerns), using nonstandard tools without a proven history is better than using standard tools (before being forced on the broader community; it's fine to test in small populations first--that's how tools become standard), and which metaphor we should abandon "everything is a file/stream" for (know of a better one to structure a system around?), then I'll listen. Until then, you're just another troll without any substance.
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:45PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:45PM (#7300)

    What's wrong with choice?

    Why is it that when it comes to computers, even open source, people are always called to justify their personal preferences? What's wrong with systemd? What's wrong with Windows 8?

    When I told my brother, who wass an Opel fanatic incarnate - you know, the kind that drives around with stickers of calvin peeing on a VW logo - that I was looking at buying a Toyota, I was not asked to justify my choice.

    But when it comes to computers, apparently everybody hates choice and loves monopolies. I guess we should all be running systemd on Windows 8...

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by mth on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:38PM

    by mth (2848) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:38PM (#7340) Homepage

    I know a few reasons why it is unpopular, but a lot of those are not flaws of systemd itself.

    It's new, so it has bugs and especially the service configuration files will have bugs. New sysvinit scripts also often have bugs (dealing poorly with exceptional situations), but those have been ironed out over the years. Switching to systemd introduces new bugs that will take time to iron out.

    Systemd starts services in parallel, which is useful in reducing boot time, but is also a lot less predictable. If dependencies are either specified wrong or not well designed, the system might boot fine sometimes and fail to boot at other times.

    It uses new syntax, both in configuration files and on the command line. For example, to access logging there are log filter options on a log DB instead of grep+less on plain text logs. While the new logging is a lot more powerful, it does mean learning a new syntax. And you're confronted with this while troubleshooting, which is not the ideal moment to appreciate a new design.

    Systemd tries to do a lot of things: starting services, logging, cron-like scheduling, managing /dev. This is not the typical modular UNIX philosophy (do one thing and do it well). Maybe this is necessary to do these thing better, maybe it's lazyness of not wanting to design new interfaces between modules. I don't understand the details well enough to make that call, but in general I'm suspicious of projects' scopes that continue to grow.

    Lennart Poettering made PulseAudio, which has a lot of enemies. And while I wouldn't consider myself an enemy of it, I did disable it on my desktop since it didn't provide any value for me and it did add to the audio latency.

    I wasn't a fan of sysvint: there is a lot of boilerplate code that is copy-pasted, there are unnecessary differences between distros (whether the "status" subcommand works, for example) and flattening the dependecy graph to a linear startup sequence had to be done manually while that is something that computers excel at. But I've also ran into a several problems with systemd; the first time I tried it my PC wouldn't even boot at all. Time will tell whether it is an improvement in the long run.

    In my opinion sysvinit is a dead end: it is good enough, but it isn't great and it won't be getting any better because the limits of the design have been reached. So I welcome new approaches; I'm just not sure yet whether systemd is the answer.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by jdccdevel on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:33PM

    by jdccdevel (1329) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:33PM (#7390) Journal
    Honestly, the problem for me isn't systemd per-se. I've been working with it for a year now, and It's not too bad, once you get used to it's quirks (the learning curve is quite steep). It also makes certain behaviours, like starting daemons when a new device appears, very easy when it used to be quite hard. The improvement in startup time is also really nice.

    That being said, the problem for me is that systemd is tied, inexorably, to the abomination that is the journal. What's wrong with the journal? Off the top of my head:
    • Binary log format. Throw all those log-file analysis tools away. journalctl is your new best friend! (or not)
    • One Massive Log. Want to keep your dhcp logs for an hour, and your login records for a year? Too bad. You Can't.
    • The only control you have for retention is how large the whole thing gets.
    • Bizarre, non-unix style querying tools. Now I have to learn a query language to find the log entry I want, and spend 15 minutes waiting while journalctl searches the entire 2GB Journal for one entry? Only to discover the information I needed was collapsed away because journalctl's built-in pager (WTF?) decided the line was too long! GRRRR.....

     

    Why did they make the journal anyway? AFAICT, the journal's entire reason for existence is to provide tamper-evident logging. (i.e. if your system gets hacked, and the attacker changes the logs, there's guaranteed to be evidence of the changes.) That's it. There is no other reason that I know of. Note that it doesn't make them tamper-proof, just tamper-evident. It's a admirable goal, but the implementation is SO HORRIBLE, the cure is literally worse than the disease.

    If the journal was optional, systemd would be a non-issue for me and many others. Sure the learning curve is steep, but the end results are actually quite nice. But by tightly coupling it with the journal abomination, they're making it much, much harder to swallow.