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Re: Legitimate exercise of our constitutional decision-making processes [Was, Re: Tentative summary of the amendments]

[cross-post to -project dropped]

Hi Ian,

Ian Jackson <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk> writes:

> Thanks to Steve for his perceptive and well-reasoned article.
> Steve Langasek writes ("Legitimate exercise of our constitutional decision-making processes [Was, Re: Tentative summary of the amendments]"):
>> There are also a lot of Debian users who are afraid of what the future holds
>> for an OS that they love very much; and they deserve to have that cloud of
>> fear removed from over their heads, to be given closure, even if that
>> closure brings the certainty that they will part ways with Debian rather
>> than being reconciled to it.
> There is a big point I wanted to make apropos, roughly, of this:
> If this vote goes against the users and derivatives who don't want to
> use systemd, those people will have nowhere to go.

I thought you said that your GR (i.e. option 1) was effectively a NOP
for Jessie (that's certainly how I read the text of your clause 4) in
which case the people that would prefer to avoid systemd have several
years (until the end of jessie-LTS) to come up with alternatives that
they prefer, so there is absolutely no reason to panic about it now.

If we were to adopt Option 1, then we'll be dragging sysvinit behind us
like a ball and chain long past the last person who clung to it notices
that there are better alternatives available -- which presumably will
come to pass eventually (or more likely happened some time ago, but the
inertia in Debian is blinding us to that fact).

The network effect that Steve tried to conjure for systemd will actually
come into effect, but for sysvinit, because the few people that might
have a good reason to depend on systemd-as-init will be forced to cobble
something together for sysvinit to act as a shield against the newly
created RC missiles.  I cannot see them being very motivated to maintain
that sysvinit-shield though, so we should expect those to rot over time.

Also, they'll be doing all that under duress, so will likely be irritable
when anyone asks them to support a third init, whereas without this
meddling in the natural order they'd probably be quite interested to
adopt an emerging competitor to systemd that supports their needs.

The result being that we'll be tied to sysvinit way beyond it's usefulness.

Of course, for the likes of Gnome, voting for Option 1 really will have
an immediate effect, which will be to completely demotivate our Gnome
maintainers, since this would be a vote against them.

I think Debian without Gnome would be a diminished thing, and that seems
like a reasonably likely outcome of Option 1 passing.

That's why I'll be voting for Charles' amendment (Option 4).

The mechanisms we already have will continue to serve us to resolve any
real instances of the breakage you're worried about.  If there are
enough people that care, Gnome will be made to run without systemd.  If
not, not, and in that case very few people will care.  If nobody cares
to do the work, there is no need for it to be done.

Option 1 seems like a Luddite reaction to me, which is of course very
tempting to the grey-bearded unix user in me, but I'd suggest that that
is just a symptom of old age, so the temptation should be resisted IMO.

If we cannot embrace innovation we should get out of the way of the
youngsters, whose brains are yet to fossilise, and see what wonders they
can surprise us with.

It may not be as awful as you imagine.

Cheers, Phil.

P.S. for those of you busily making assumptions about what my motives
are: I'm an xmonad user, have only recently installed systemd on my
laptop (with some minor issues that will get reported as bugs once I
track them down), and rarely manage to install Gnome to my satisfaction
(because I'm generally trying with old hardware), so on the whole this
doesn't affect me greatly either way (apart from the vast waste of time
involved in following the interminable arguments).
|)|  Philip Hands  [+44 (0)20 8530 9560]  HANDS.COM Ltd.
|-|  http://www.hands.com/    http://ftp.uk.debian.org/
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