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Re: Proposal: let’s have a GR about the init system

On Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 08:31:38AM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Bastien beudart <bastienbeudart@gmail.com> writes:
> > It seems that the tech committee is composed of two well known ubuntu
> > developers.  Isn't that biased? I mean do you see them voting against
> > upstart, I know that the decision should be based around technical
> > facts, but that is not in their interest to vote against their project,
> > especially since canonical is isolating itself from the rest of the
> > community, so having Debian support is, I guess, really important, so…
> Steve and Colin have both been Debian developers for a lot longer than
> they've been Ubuntu developers.  I would indeed be surprised to see Steve
> vote against upstart, but that would be on the basis of its technical
> merits as he sees them and as he's made clear in various discussions over
> the years.

I've done some work on Upstart itself and a good deal more designing
subsystems around it; no doubt that experience will have a bearing on my
vote.  The other Technical Committee members will also surely bring
relevant experience of one kind or another to the table, as we've all
worked on a wide range of systems with considerations that relate to the
varying designs of systemd and Upstart.  Anticipating the kind of
accusation that Bastien makes, I talked with Bdale at DebConf in his
capacity as TC chair and asked whether he felt I should recuse myself; I
don't remember exactly the words he used but I think it was something
along the lines of TC members not needing to recuse themselves just
because they happen to have relevant technical experience.

My employer certainly has an interest in Upstart, that much is clear,
and certainly I find it personally helpful when individual packages
carry Upstart support in Debian because it means we don't have to go to
the effort of maintaining deltas against them in Ubuntu.  But I think if
I have a pre-existing bias it is more towards not having a monoculture,
because in cases where we have multiple competing systems with broadly
similar capabilities (and e.g. the fact that we support glibc and not
uclibc isn't really a good comparison, since the latter is explicitly
targeting embedded rather than general-purpose systems), I think the
competition is healthy for all of them and for Debian, even if it
results in a bit more work.  For similar reasons I think the breadth of
architectures we support is a distinct strength of Debian, even if it
involves more work, and it brings the concrete benefit that when we need
to bring up a new one we have the flexibility designed into the system
to be able to do so without much fuss.  Of course we need a default,
which I'd like not to be sysvinit, and I hope we can look at *that* as
objectively as possible with a minimum of mud-slinging.

One thing I will say here and now: if I feel under pressure from my
employer to vote a particular way, then I will immediately recuse myself
from the vote and from further part in the discussion.  I'd hope that
would be generally understood as ethical behaviour.


Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson@debian.org]

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