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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: 3, Interesting) by novak on Sunday December 21 2014, @09:25PM

    by novak (4683) on Sunday December 21 2014, @09:25PM (#128128) Homepage

    Hm, yeah, that's because there's (in my mind, anyhow) two categories of systemd opposers.
    First, you've got the people actually interested in minimalism. They have, over time, probably been moving to more minimal systems, been building or testing software which replaces bloated parts of userspace, and generally simplifying their computing. They do not plan to use systemd, because it's the opposite of what they have been working towards. So they don't. They either use another distro or remove systemd from their favorite, because it comes with the territory of minimalism that you have to know some system internals. Or they jump to BSD because they realize that a lot of BSD code is cleaner and more minimal anyways.

    Then, you've got complainers. People that can barely pipe two commands together but that worship the mythical "unix philosophy," which, to be fair, linux does not adhere to particularly well anywhere. They have no particular allegiance to any software, and no particular goals for their software either, but because someone told them it was bad, they start screaming bloody murder. So they want their ubuntu or fedora, just without systemd, like that was the only problem with modern linuxes. They think that systemd is going to crash all their computer multiple times daily and delete the logs. (to be fair, it probably will tank reliability... But there's too much momentum behind it to leave it that badly off)

    These complainers drown out all the serious commenters with knowledge of actual problems of systemd, who are just sort of sitting back chuckling that anyone would even consider using systemd at all. I... don't really care about this bug, honestly. I'll never use systemd, but I know there are going to be a ton of bugs, as systemd is all about feature creep. But instead, most of what you hear are wild rants from the uninformed. "A bug! A bug! I told you it was broken!"
    This bug doesn't "prove" that systemd is broken/unreliable. Basic knowledge about its design proves that. This bug is just a bug, which happens to all software, and especially badly-designed bloatware like systemd.

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Nuke on Monday December 22 2014, @12:25AM

    by Nuke (3162) on Monday December 22 2014, @12:25AM (#128171)
    "there's (in my mind, anyhow) two categories of systemd opposers. ....First, you've got the people actually interested in minimalism. .... Then, you've got complainers.......[and also] the serious commenters with knowledge of actual problems of systemd"

    You have given me a flashback to the Monty Python Spanish Inquisition sketch. That's three categories.

    How about a fourth category - those worried abot the unwillingness of the sytsemd team even to acknowledge bugs, like here [] and here [].
    • (Score: 2) by novak on Monday December 22 2014, @12:39AM

      by novak (4683) on Monday December 22 2014, @12:39AM (#128177) Homepage

      Bet you didn't expect the Spanish inquisition!

      More seriously, the people interested in minimalism could understand how systemd works and dismiss it due to design. Still just two categories.