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Re: Debian Buster release to partially drop non-systemd support

On 17.10.2018 06:52, Russ Allbery wrote:
> I think a package of a daemon that does not inherently require any
> systemd-specific features and would work straightforwardly with sysvinit,
> but has only a systemd unit file and no init script, is not only buggy but
> RC-buggy.  That's what Policy currently says.

And it would not be buggy if it does not ship any init integration or
relies on a non-init service supervision system like runit. (The crux
being that systemd is not modular to be run that way and not portable.)

> It is quite easy to write a sysvinit init script for most daemons that
> will basically work.  I don't think the maintainer is obligated to do much
> more than that (for instance, I don't think you need to try to duplicate
> systemd hardening configuration or other features that are quite
> challenging to do under sysvinit without more tool support, although some
> of that may be coming in start-stop-daemon).
> I don't think it's reasonable to expect every Debian maintainer to have a
> system booted into sysvinit to test the init script, since that can be
> quite an undertaking if one isn't using sysvinit normally, but thankfully
> you don't need to do that to test the init script.  Just delete the unit
> file and then test the init script with systemd.  For nearly all daemons
> that don't involve tight system integration, this will be more than
> adequate.

You say "more than adequate". I don't particularly see it as providing a
solid system as you don't get restart on failure. Now I can see how
people say that this is not a problem as daemons should not crash in the
first place. Maybe I just value reliability of service more highly than
being woken up at night being told that my service is unreliable.

Is a possible answer here to ship an init script and then provide
additional supervision options using override files - to enhance
whatever is provided by the sysv generator?

This statement also does not address a daemon that only runs through
socket activation - passing an fd to the daemon. But I don't have any
example handy and this might be a strawman argument. Except that I could
see that for simplicity newer daemons might be written in this way as it
does cut a significant amount of socket handling code.

To some degree I regret that we cannot provide a fully integrated
distribution by mandating that the core layers (be it kernels or init
systems) can be switched out. systemd still supports init scripts but on
the other side there's pretty much complete stagnation with the onus on
the systemd maintainers to keep things working. There could as well have
been an effort to support a subset of the unit language for sysvinit.

That said, I'm grateful for Petter pointing out /lib/init/init-d-script
and I need to investigate that as an alternative to write a full blown
shell script with logic that needs to be updated everywhere when there
are changes.

> If you want to do more than the minimum and try to replicate more unit
> file features in the init script, that's great, but I think it's also
> reasonable to not do so and wait for sysvinit users to file bugs.  But I
> do think it's a key and important part of our general project-wide
> compromise that maintainers of packages that include daemons continue to
> do the reasonable minimum to keep those daemons basically working with
> other init systems, until such time as the project as a whole decides that
> sysvinit support should not be maintained.

I guess this thread will show if people other than the systemd folks
actually step up to maintain this support. But I'm more worried about
the externalized cost to the maintainers to contribute work to keep this
working if the user base is minimal. That said, I guess 1.55% of the
popcon base having sysvinit-core installed aka 3k users is way more than
some of the ports have. (Although I actually see the Linux ones as less
of a burden than switching out and supporting multiple core components.)

>> It'd need to run much more often (every 15 minutes). So cron.daily
>> wouldn't fit. For the sake of the argument it'd need to be a shell
>> script that checks multiple conditions (see [1]). And we currently don't
>> have timer/cron deduplication, unfortunately. That means it'd also need
>> to disable itself on systemd systems (but of course cron would still
>> invoke the script periodically). Similarly - as a more general remark -
>> having it as a cronjob doesn't let you monitor it in quite the same way.
> I think we should solve the problem of timer/cron de-duplication before
> opening the door to timer units.  I agree that timer units would be a very
> valuable addition to a lot of packages, but timer/cron de-duplication
> feels like an entirely tractable problem that's useful to resolve in its
> own right.  Maybe we can just do that?

I suppose one answer would be a cron generator. Given that policy
specifies naming schemes for /etc/cron.{hourly,daily,weekly,monthly,d},
there could probably be a mapping from filename to timer. But the cron
language itself does not contain identifiers, so there's still the
question what to do if you encounter multiple lines and how you'd map
them. Init scripts with their 1:1 mapping and metadata headers were much
easier to handle. Plus we'd need a way to tell cron not to execute those
cronjobs in case systemd is running, which I guess means adding systemd
guards to /etc/crontab (a conffile). And you'd of course still have cron
wake up to execute the shell statement.

But it's not like timer units are forbidden. Just like my
introductionary statement of "but if you use a different system not
considered an init system, you are fine", there's nothing in policy
mandating periodic jobs to work in a particular way. It just talks about
what to do if you do ship a cronjob.

Kind regards
Philipp Kern

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