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Bug#727708: init system decision-making concerns

Dear all,

I'm sincerely grateful to technical committee members for their dedication 
and relentless effort to thoroughly research and understand the issue in 
order to make the best decision possible.

Although most arguments for and against various init systems were already 
presented I think I still have something to add. I apologise in advance to 
some who might consider my feedback to be obvious or redundant.

This is the first time ever I'm sharing my concerns regarding init system 
for Debian.

I think well-balanced decision on this subject would benefit from not being 
too technical. 

For instance due to controversial contributor's agreement Upstart is pretty 
much defunct project. Many contributors prefer to spend their time on 
something else rather than Upstart. If adopted Upstart will likely turn into 
a big liability for Debian. The very survival of Upstart may depend on 
whether we going to be involved or not. Canonical/Ubuntu would be very happy 
to use Debian resources for Upstart as if they succeed in "selling" Upstart 
to Debian they would be able to offload (i.e. outsource) a significant chunk 
of effort that they have to dedicate to Upstart development and maintenance 
otherwise. It is quite possible that Ubuntu might reduce their involvement 
to Upstart (and "allow" Debian to deal with problems) while they are likely 
to spend more of their resources formerly allocated to Upstart to contribute 
to other areas of "added value". (IMHO the only major Ubuntu sell point is a 
concept of "added value" on top of Debian.) In my opinion Canonical/Ubuntu 
will benefit the most from Upstart adoption in Debian.

Considering the possibility that in the future Ubuntu might abandon Upstart, 
Debian may end up with unwanted/obsolete init system. Since Upstart future 
is uncertain I fear that we might waste a lot of precious resources for 
Upstart and/or potentially became de-facto upstream for Upstart. IMHO from 
this prospective Upstart shall not be considered as alternative init system 
at all.

Indeed I'm concerned about conflict of interests from DDs affiliated with 
Canonical and Ubuntu. When they advocate for Upstart I doubt they have 
Debian's best interests in mind. There is a danger for Debian to be overrun 
by outsiders or to fall under their influence even if some of them are 
working on both sides.

Besides we can learn from OpenSUSE where Upstart was replaced with Systemd.
Even without much investigation it should be fairly clear that there are 
good reasons not to use Upstart and to prefer something else.

As for Systemd I do not fear its adoption. On the bright side it would be 
nice to reduce our differences with other distros in that area. Systemd may 
open some exciting opportunities to cooperate and join the efforts with 
other influential distros. Our users may benefit from feature rich init 
system and its adoption might make it easier for new users to switch to 
Debian. It doesn't look like Systemd survival will be influenced much from 
Debian involvement so from non-technical prospective Systemd is better for 
us due to strong upstream and wide(r) adoption.

Of course there are concerns regarding integration between Systemd and GNOME 
but that's a different issue and perhaps not a major one as long as we use 
GNOME as default desktop environment. Besides GNOME already became notorious 
for being intrusive (e.g. it depends on "pulseaudio" etc.). 

Also I'd like to notice that shopping for most feature-rich init system 
might be not our goal after all. OpenRC may be the safest choice that might 
satisfy majority of developers as it appears to have the least number of 
objections. I have impression that OpenRC have far less passionate opponents 
than Systemd.

Finally I'm sure everybody is already getting exhausted by long debates 
about this topic. At this point it might be tempting to approach on 
decision, any decision, to put this to end. This is a way to make mistakes 
of judgement. Unless there is a rush we all need to slow down and perhaps 
even take a break for several weeks to clear our heads and make a balanced, 
well thought decision. Taking break may be beneficial for the quality of 
decision making.

 Dmitry Smirnov
 GPG key : 4096R/53968D1B


Odious ideas are not entitled to hide from criticism behind the human
shield of their believers' feelings.
        -- Richard Stallman

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