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posted by janrinok on Sunday December 21 2014, @04:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the show-stopper-or-rare-event? dept.

Noted Linux expert Chris Siebenmann has described two catastrophic failures involving systemd.

One of the problems he encountered with systemd became apparent during a disastrous upgrade of a system from Fedora 20 to Fedora 21. It involved PID 1 segfaulting during the upgrade process. He isn't the only victim to suffer from this type of bad experience, either. The bug report for this problem is still showing a status of NEW, nearly a month after it was opened.

The second problem with systemd that he describes involves the journalctl utility. It displays log messages with long lines in a way that requires sideways scrolling, as well as displaying all messages since the beginning of time, in forward chronological order. Both of these behaviors contribute to making the tool much less usable, especially in critical situations where time and efficiency are of the essence.

Problems like these raise some serious questions about systemd, and its suitability for use by major Linux distros like Fedora and Debian. How can systemd be used if it can segfault in such a way, or if the tools that are provided to assist with the recovery exhibit such counter-intuitive, if not outright useless, behavior?

Editor's Comment: I am not a supporter of systemd, but if there are only 2 such reported occurrences of this fault, as noted in one of the links, then perhaps it is not a widespread fault but actually a very rare one. This would certainly explain - although not justify - why there has been so little apparent interest being shown by the maintainers. Nevertheless, the fault should still be fixed.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Arik on Sunday December 21 2014, @07:31PM

    by Arik (4543) on Sunday December 21 2014, @07:31PM (#128090) Journal
    Yes, systemd does not produce text logs that can be read using any of the many mature and robust text tools available - it must do them in a binary format which can only be read with their crappy viewer, and yes, no longer producing log files in text is the big problem here. You can't bug-fix your way out of defective-by-design.
    If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
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  • (Score: 2) by choose another one on Monday December 22 2014, @11:30AM

    by choose another one (515) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 22 2014, @11:30AM (#128284)

    Is there something about "ForwardToSyslog=yes" that doesn't work for you - does that not produce log files in text ?

    Seems to me that going from binary to text is the right way - it's trivial once you've decided on a format - going the other way (if you need the binary logs with full metadata, which I presume somebody does...) requires ensuring the text formattinging is reversible (quoting etc.) and writing a parser. Seems to me that binary-first is the right design if someone needs binary logs.

    • (Score: 1) by Arik on Monday December 22 2014, @11:49AM

      by Arik (4543) on Monday December 22 2014, @11:49AM (#128290) Journal
      The problem is that option fails when boot fails - the one time when you most need it.

      Logs should be in text and converted to binary later if someone really needs binary, not the other way around, because this allows you to read the logs after a failed boot, and binary does not. You can convert from one to another to your hearts content, after you fix the problem and get the machine back on its feet.
      If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?