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Bug#727708: Upstart and the CLA

I've been asked by a couple of people for my thoughts on how the upstart
CLA has impacted my position about the default init system for Debian.

I think it's pretty clear the upstart CLA was the most damaging at the
very start of the project. As Kay and Lennart have intimated elsewhere,
the upstart CLA was a very real and important reason for the genesis of
systemd as a separate project instead of a series of improvements for
upstart. Without the upstart CLA, there would be no systemd, and we
would not be discussing which init system to switch to as we would have
all switched to upstart a long time ago.

If the upstart CLA were to disappear today, then future collaboration
would be dramatically eased, and upstart would become a full member of
the free software ecosystem. However, we cannot go back and fix the
damage caused by the CLA at the start of the project. Most of the larger
community has been working hard on systemd since it started and it has
made enormous progress. Upstart has been improving as well, but at a
slower pace commensurate with developer effort.

In my analysis of the proposed replacements as a member of the
tech-ctte, I tried to ignore the political issues (including the CLA)
and focus purely on technical merits of the proposals. What I found was
that both upstart and systemd were a huge improvement over our existing
init system, and that either would be a good move for the Debian project
on Linux. However, on balance, I believe that systemd is a better
replacement for sysvinit than upstart for the majority of Debian uses today.


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