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Re: Bug#727708: tech-ctte: Decide which init system to default to in Debian.

On Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 01:41:53AM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> I'm surprised by this comment.  Very little policy is actually encoded in
> upstart's C code; in fact, the only policy I can think of offhand that is is
> some basic stuff around filesystems, which, aside from some must-have kernel
> filesystems without which it can't boot the rest of the system, should be
> entirely overrideable via /etc/fstab.  Perhaps you could expand on what
> policies you saw a need to change?

The details are a bit fuzzy, because this was a quite a while ago,
when Upstart was first introduced into Ubuntu, and it was so
frustrating that it was what caused me to abandon Ubuntu and switch
back to Debian.  The high bit was I couldn't get a particular service
to start (it might have been bind, or some such), and I had no idea
how to debug the darned thing.  With shell scripts, it's possible to
insert "echo debug 1 $variable >> /tmp/debug.log" to figure out what's
going on.  With upstart, I had no way of figuring out what was going
on, and why it was failing, and the "no user-serviceable parts inside"
was extremely frusrtating.

I'm sure part of the problem was lack of documentation.  That seems to
be a common theme with many of these "higher level language" systems.
They may be powerful if you know the magic XML file to edit (in the
case of policy kit), but it took me several hours before I figured out
even something as simple as "say 'yes' to for all authorization
questions", which is how I still run to this day, because (a) the
default of prompting for the root password in popup windows all the
time was too painful, and (b) trying to figure out how to XML
language, and all of the triggeers, etc., was ***far*** too painful.
One of the nice things about shell scripts is that they are far more
self-documenting, and easier to debug, than XML and other
'higher-level' configuration files (at least for this dumb kernel
hacker :-).

So hopefully that is something the technical committee will take into
account --- how well things are documented, both in terms of a
comprehensive reference manual, and a tutorial that helps people with
common things that system administrators might want to do.  The
docuementation you pointed to at http://upstart.ubuntu.com/cookbook/
is something I wish I had access to when I first was forced to use
Upstart; maybe if Upstart was as polished back then, I might not have
given up on Ubuntu in disgust.


					- Ted

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