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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: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21 2014, @09:17PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21 2014, @09:17PM (#128125)

    I agree, and at this point I'm not taking anything said pro- or anti-systemd seriously. This long ago passed through its brief phase as a discussion on technological merit to some sort of socio-political inter-faction conflict. In that kind of environment, any figure or argument may very well be a sort of strawman, or a fake strawman set up to expose strawmanning by the other side, etc. etc.

    The anti-systemd spamming AC who is over-fond of the carriage return, for example, doesn't make any sense. Those comments ask me to believe that there exists a person who is so terrified of his own system that he reads SN specifically to hear about problems with systemd, yet that this person is unwilling or unable to 1) switch distros or 2) read through the systemd bug report list directly, where each of these stories ends up linking, since none of these are new bugs! That is completely irrational. However, it provides a nice way to build up examples of those who are against systemd as deranged. It would be quite effective for systemd proponents to simply link to each of these comments in order to show their own comparative rationality. ...unless, of course, certain evidence will at some point appear indicating that these comments are actually made by someone who has some vested interest in the success of systemd, which would be conveniently effective as for the anti- folks.

    In short: none of this makes sense on the surface, and to attempt to look beneath the surface is a Sisyphean effort.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22 2014, @12:24AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22 2014, @12:24AM (#128170)

    I don't think that that AC is lying.

    I, too, do find that I'm constantly surprised by the bugs in systemd. Not being able to cancel a boot-time fsck run? I never would have expected that to be broken under systemd. Pid 1 crashing? I could see it happening, but I would have thought that systemd would be much more reliable than that. Binary log files? I thought everybody with a brain figured out that was a bad idea just by thinking about it for a few seconds. Poor formatting of the text version of the binary log files? This is something that even an amateur programmer can do properly.

    I'm also surprised that these bugs haven't been fixed, even after years in some cases. These are major bugs. They're not tolerable at all. The mere fact that they exist means that something is very wrong with systemd's architecture and development practices.

    I don't really have to worry about all of this, though, having moved to FreeBSD some time ago. But not everyone has that luxury, so I can see why they need this site to keep them updated with the latest dumbness that has been discovered with systemd.