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Bug#727708: Please clarify L options with regard to interfaces

On Fri, Feb 07, 2014 at 01:44:42PM +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> Sam Hartman writes ("Bug#727708: Please clarify L options with regard to interfaces"):
> > * Colin said that it would be OK to depend on a stable interface such as
> >   logind-208 provided that multiple implementations could exist.

> Colin, I think you need to clarify this.  I think it matters very much
> whether multiple implementations _do_ exist.

> > * Ian said that this dependency would not be OK.

> > I'd like the ballot options to clarify:

> > 1) Whether these interface dependencies are acceptable

> I don't have an opinion on the technical implementation details such
> as dependencies.

> > 2) Whether they are acceptable in cases where there is only one
> > implementation.

> My view on that is "no".  The key question for me is whether it is
> actually possible to use a different init system.

So my view on this is a strong "yes", because:

 - The Debian TC saying "no" will not stop upstreams from making use of
   these interfaces if they exist (or not enough upstreams for it to
 - It's not the responsibility of systemd upstream to make these dbus
   interfaces available on upstart, it's the responsibility of the upstart
   community to do so; and Debian should not artificially retard the
   evolution of systemd's interfaces with a requirement that they be
   available on non-systemd systems before they can be used in the

I think there is value in Debian not being tied irrevocably to systemd
upstream.  The upstream policy of component bundling has already been a
problem for Debian, and I believe it will continue to be a problem in the
future.  But I think the way to achieve such independence is by like-minded
developers working together to provide the necessary technical solutions on
top of other init systems, not by using the TC's power to block Debian from
taking advantage of software features that make the distribution better out
of the box.

We can and should make sure the preconditions are in place so that *if*
developers care about keeping non-systemd init usable in Debian, they have a
fair shot at doing this.  But we shouldn't go beyond that; and I think
requiring multiple implementations of the dbus interfaces to be in place
before other software can make use of them in the distro, as a top-down,
hard and fast rule, does go beyond that.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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