There is no GNOME without systemd. This is not specific to Debian.
Because i - aehm - cant set an icon for my system via hostnamed or something?
As you've spotted, what M. George wrote is ambiguous and unspecific and liable to be further distorted. This may help: * http://homepage.ntlworld.com./jonathan.deboynepollard/FGA/debian-systemd-packaging-hoo-hah.html