The systemd MacGuffin
The systemd issue in Debian (not systemd itself) is like exploring a
cave system which seems to go on forever. It has so many facets and
subplots that it seems impossible to evaluate objectively. It's the
perfect storm for Debian. It's hard to imagine a more polarizing issue.
It's conceivable that the Unix paradigm is too limiting for "the
universal OS," and this is the chance to break through it, without
breaking out. Maybe resisting the Borg really is futile in this case
but we can send all the clones to deprogramming classes. We have all
been programmed by the Borgs of Redmond and Cupertino, to varying
I started posting here when, after years of promoting Linux to friends
and employers and finally seeing much progress, my company started
phasing out Debian (systemd was not the only issue but more of a last
straw). If I take that as a bellwether if Debian's success or failure,
however, I put it on a par with commercial distros, and that is not
what Debian is all about. To keep volunteer interest it should be
nimble and take risks.
In the end, I think systemd is a MacGuffin, a distraction from deeper
issues that are really driving the debate. It's also a time and energy
sink, and a stressor for me and (assume) others. It represents debates
that has been suppressed for years at both individual and social levels
in the name of peace, harmony and conformity. Linux was never about
conformity. It is the ultimate disruptive technology.
I agree with systemd proponents who say there was no need for
administrative action, the GR "no-op." I also agree with opponents who
say we need clear direction from leadership, something they cannot give
when they themselves are paralyzed with disagreement. The systemd issue
is a tale told by an idiot, a mirror to the collective mind of the FOSS
community, both crazy and sane, funny and serious, all at the same time.
If the proponent side wins the GR vote I'll probably report some
sysvinit bugs out of self-interest. If the opponent side wins I'll
probably report systemd bugs, for Debian's sake. I've never been able
to decide which side is which in the "Linux Civil War" but if the
analogy holds, I'm on the Union side. I'll take the debate with equal
doses of stress and humor, and try to remember the stakes after FOSS
has arrived on the world stage and become a player.