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Interpreting the init system GR results

I originally posted this in a thread on debian-private, but on further
reflection it seems appropriate for a broader audience.

There is quite a lot of discussion in various places about what the recent
GR result means.  Some are concluding that systemd won in some way that
implies Debian is not going to support other init systems, or at least
that support for other init systems is in immediate danger.  A lot of that
analysis concludes that the pro-systemd "side" in Debian won some sort of
conclusive victory.

I have a different perspective.

I think we just had a GR in which the Debian developer community said that
we, as a community, would like to work through all of the issues around
init systems together, as a community, rather than having any one side of
the argument win unambiguously and impose its views on those who disagree.

There were options on the ballot that clearly required loose coupling and
that clearly required tight coupling.  The top two options did neither of
those things.  The second-highest option said, effectively, that we should
feel free to exercise our technical judgement for our own packages, but
should do so with an eye to enabling people to make different choices, and
should merge their changes and contributions where possible.  The highest
option said that we don't even want to say that, and would instead prefer
to work this whole thing out through discussion, respect, consensus, and
mutual support, without giving *anyone* a clear mandate or project-wide
blessing for their approach.

In other words, the way I choose to look at this GR is that the project as
a whole just voted to take away the sticks that we were using to beat each
other with.

In a way, we just chose thet *hardest* option.  We didn't make a
simplifying technical decision that provides clear guidance to everyone.
Instead, we made a complicating social decision that says that, sorry,
there's no short cut to avoid having to talk to each other, respect each
other's views, and try to reach workable collaborative compromises.  Even
though it's really hard, even though everyone is raw and upset, that's
what the project as a whole is asking us to do.

Are we up to the challenge?

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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