Hugh Pickens writes:
Systemd has turned into the Godzilla of Linux controversies. "Everywhere you look it's stomping through blogs, rampaging through online discussion threads, and causing white-hot flames that resemble Godzilla's own breath of death," writes Jim Lynch. Now Sam Varghese reports at iTWire that although Linus Torvalds is well-known for his strong opinions, when it comes to systemd, Torvalds is neutral. "When it comes to systemd, you may expect me to have lots of colorful opinions, and I just don't," says Torvalds. "I don't personally mind systemd, and in fact my main desktop and laptop both run it."
Oh, there's been bitter fights before. Just think about the emacs vs vi wars. Or, closer to systemd, the whole "SysV init" vs "BSD init" differences certainly ended up being things that people had "heated discussions" about. Or think about the desktop comparisons.
I'm not really sure how different the systemd brawls are from those. It's technical, but admittedly the systemd developers have also been really good at alienating people on a purely personal level too. Not that that is anything particularly new under the sun _either_: the (very) bitter wars between the GPL and the BSD license camps during late-80s and early-90s were almost certainly more about the persons involved and how they pissed off people than necessarily deeply about other differences (which existed, obviously, but still).
Torvalds was asked if systemd didn't create a single point of failure which makes a system unbootable if it fails. "I think people are digging for excuses. I mean, if that is a reason to not use a piece of software, then you shouldn't use the kernel either."
Unfortunately people really like to do some bashing more that contributing.
Contributing to what exactly?
Code to de-integrate systemd dependancies from common libraries. Example from recent debian bug report (762116):
I suspect the culprit here is packages which perform a broad array of functions, rather than doing one thing and doing it well. So brasero needs X functionality, which can be found in package W. Package W also provides Y functionality, which depends on systemd-sysv. So therefore brasero depends on systemd-sysv, even though it doesn't *need* it.
... meaning, library package W is in desperate need of refactoring.
The response from an apologist was, well, apologetic and didn't make a lot of sense at first:
brasero needs to know when a CD is inserted, and it needs access to the raw device to actually burn the CD. This access is granted to the person physically logged on the machine. The only way to know who is logged on is through systemd-logind.
I was surprised to read this, since last I looked under the hood, debian used consolekit. Unfortunately a bit of research today revealed that consolekit (which was reasonably platform neutral, having ports to BSDs) was deliberately orphaned with Poettering on the team. I'm starting to see a pattern with this particular developer.
Systemd is probably a bad design, and the debian project's decision to have alternate init systems available is coming up against the hard reality that systemd does not play well with others even when in a different room.