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Bug#727708: init system discussion status

Ian Jackson <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk> writes:

> Andreas, Bdale, Don, Keith: please let us know what you're thinking,
> and what more information/discussion would be useful.

As the newest TC member, I hope to emulate my learned colleagues and try
to keep the discussion moving in a positive direction.

First off, my personal interest and experience with init has been
limited; starting off my Unix life doing system administration on a
PDP-11 running V7 and then 2.7 BSD, and then rapidly escaping into
desktop system software development has never made me comfortable with
our current sysvinit-based systems. I suspect I've spent more time in
the last six months exploring this space than I did in the previous 32
years of Unix experience...

As with any core system component, I believe we need to find a solution
which best meets the following goals:

 1) Technical excellence.

 2) Support for the whole Debian community.

 3) Sharing with other Linux communities.

Sometimes it is possible to find a single solution which is obviously
the best in all of these areas, but in this case, we will need to
compromise -- none of the proposed solutions ranks number one in all
three areas.

Because of the central nature of pid 1, and influenced by experiences
like that expressed by Marc Merlin, I believe that Debian will need to
support multiple init systems going forward, even on Linux.

However, on Linux, I believe that the vast majority of Debian users
would be best served by encouraging them to use systemd by making that
the default.

systemd is being developed by a broad cross-distribution community who
are solving long-standing technical issues with how subsystems are
managed within the Linux environment. Yes, there are technical issues
with using systemd in a Debian environment, but I don't see any of them
as significant blockers, and only by contributing our expertise can we
expect them to be resolved in the best way.

In contrast, upstart has a developer community limited to Canonical
employees and others who are able and willing to sign the onerous CLA
associated with that software. I believe as a result, upstart
development has flagged and now lags far behind systemd in several key

I would like to encourage the OpenRC community to continue working on
their most excellent system though; I feel like it has a great place as
a simpler and more portable system for use in environments like that
described by Marc Merlin in his LCA talk discussed here recently, as
well as in non-Linux environments.

Thanks to Ian, Russ and Bdale for offering their opinions on this
matter, it's certainly helped focus my thoughts on the one or two key
points that matter most to me. And, thanks to Steve for creating a
couple of virtual hosts for me to play with both upstart and systemd.


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