Ian Jackson's general resolution to prevent init system coupling has failed to pass, the majority vote deciding that the resolution is unnecessary. This means that not only will Debian's default init be systemd, but packages will not be required to support other init systems. Presumably, this means that using other init systems on Debian (without using systemd as a base) will not be possible without major workarounds, or possibly at all. It also leaves the future of Debian projects such as kFreeBSD unclear, as systemd is linux specific.
The vote results can be found here
The winners are:
Option 4 "General Resolution is not required"
I might sound sane and normal about it right now, but if systemd-shim vanishes for some reason, I can guarantee that I'll be frothing at the mouth along with rest over it. Nearly all of my systemd complaints are about the init, logging, and the shitty, politically-charged adoption. Using the shim lets me avoid two of the three, and the third doesn't affect me in day-to-day use. I've already said a fair bit about Poettering, Sievers, and the pushy, rushed adoption of systemd already in other threads, so there isn't much point revisiting the complaints, but it's still a sore point with me. Still, that's not reason enough by itself to flee to BSD when Ubuntu and Debian have worked around some of the brain damage with the shim package.
One potential fear with systemd, and one I do agree with, is that Poettering, Sievers, and co. are using their influence in so many pieces of Linux software to unfairly tie everything together in a way that will make systemd unavoidable. It's a sleazy tactic and it's pretty obvious it's really happening. Pulseaudio depends on systemd now. udev is folded into systemd. NetworkManager requires systemd now. udisks and upower (which I believe Poettering has been involved in) need systemd. Probably some more but I can't think of what else.
Another is that distros will stop providing non-systemd start/stop scripts after systemd becomes the default, effectively making non-systemd impossible. I think this is a legitimate concern, but not necessarily a serious one, because someone that's serious about using an alternate init will be willing (and hardcore enough) to make their own init scripts or whatever. Someone might even rig up a systemd-to-sysv script generator of some kind to serve as a starting point.
All said, I do think the systemd problem is a fairly big deal, but I don't think it's going to destroy Debian or Linux. Like you said, there are enough sane users and devs around that eventually, even if systemd ends up ubiquitous, it'll get tempered into something less insane. The real problem is the sleazy and suspicious way the whole thing has happened, and I have a feeling that's where a lot of the vitriol and emotion comes from. There's a huge backlash here because people feel cornered, forced into something abruptly. Hell, Debian's normal decision-making could reasonably be compared to an Entmoot, but not with systemd. Just for a comparison, I think systemd may have made its way from newcomer to default faster than Debian switched from KDE 3.5 to KDE 4.x