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The wider implications of dbus breakage

Some people may have recently been bitten by #537125.
This mail isn't about that bug in particular, though it did
certainly expose the fragility of systems depending upon dbus.

If you run a current unstable system, with a default (empty)
xorg.conf this disables C-A-Fn and C-A-Bksp to switch to a
virtual terminal or kill a dead X server.  I noticed that if you
run a login manager such as kdm, this is completely dependent
upon a working dbus (or a service dependent upon dbus such as hal).

With the recent dbus breakage, the login manager stopped working
completely, and with no C-A-Fn escape to a virtual console, the
system was *completely useless and unrecoverable* unless hard
reset and booted into runlevel 1.

I was seriously annoyed by this.  One userspace service such as
dbus or hal, which is not in any way required for fundamental
operation of the system, should not be able to turn a working
system into a paperweight.  We should really be questioning
our reliance upon fragile systems such as these, and the
implications of what will happen when they break.  Leaving a
system in a totally unrecoverable state is not acceptable.

Again, this isn't about the specific bug.  And yes, had I the
facility to do so, I could have logged in via the network.
However, *unknown future bugs* in these services have the
potential to seriously cripple our systems, and we do seem to
becoming slowly and unwittingly dependent upon them.

That's all,

  .''`.  Roger Leigh
 : :' :  Debian GNU/Linux             http://people.debian.org/~rleigh/
 `. `'   Printing on GNU/Linux?       http://gutenprint.sourceforge.net/
   `-    GPG Public Key: 0x25BFB848   Please GPG sign your mail.

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