Opinion on systemd

I’m hoping I’m not going too low-level in Linux here on asking this, but what are people’s opinion on systemd? It appears to be the default system management daemon on most of the major distros. Despite this there has been some recent controversy surrounding it:


Was it a smart move for the distros to switch? And if not, where do they go from here?

There seems to be a debate against systemd all the time…

I can’t really say to much as I don’t know any of this for sure but I can easily say that I miss having upstart as an option, I mean its still here but if its not maintained and shiz its gonna die, at least with upstart the didn’t seem to be to many people complaining about it, and alot of people liked it…

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I for one hated upstart. In Ubuntu 12.04 I could easily bring it down requiring a full reboot when writing upstart scripts just by getting the PID tracking options wrong. I’m hoping it got better before it was killed off, but it ate up far too much of my old team’s time getting it to work and not kill entire racks of servers :smile:

Fair enough xD I guess I just missed the fires of upstart in that case, I started around Ubuntu 12.04-12.10 and was to young in the linux world to know what upstart and systemd was, I didn’t even know what a @jonobacon was until a little while later xD

Anyways I think with these kind of things, Itd be nice to beable to choose something that isn’t systemD, with all the debating it does make me feel a little nervious about it…

if you started there and understand what I’m talking about here you have come a long way fast!

I’ve known of Jono for many years but only met him once (and I can’t even remember which conference it was at). I may not agree with his stances on things all the time (or very often) but he is a great guy, as are all the Bad Voltage team.

Unfortunately the script format for all of these systems is different and every package with a daemon needs a script so unless every package supports every type I doubt it will ever be something the user can easily choose and switch between.

I reviewed CoreOS in June which is very modern, a completely different way of running an application stack on Linux and it goes to show how much the basic systems running on a Linux distro have changed in a short time. Systemd is so much at the core of it that it has a distributed system for deploying systemd configurations called ‘Fleet’.

Gentoo hasn’t switched and I don’t think they intend to any time soon.

Oh I dont know much about upstart and systemD its verry hit and miss with me at the moment with it, I understand that alot of set up has to go into switching between startups, and that if you set anything up on one you’d have trouble trying to get a similar process working on the other, but I dont know why or what those scripts can and will do, it seems verry complcated though so sometimes I avoid getting into it expecially with big groups using words I’ve never heard of before xD

Ah SysV init… always felt pretty baddass doing init commands to change runlevels to reboot or shutdown :stuck_out_tongue:

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I hope it dies in a fire.

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I think this is the only sentence of this thread that I do understand. You are all doing this to make me feel ignorant, aren’t you?? :smile:


I understand being opinionated about a piece of software, but could you pick anything more uninteresting? :slight_smile:

The thing that gets me about this whole SystemD vs. Upstart vs. anything else debate is that it centers around a particularly boring and utilitarian part of a system. Sure, it is important…it starts services…but…whatevaaar. So long as it works, live and let live. :slight_smile:

What next? Do we have long and drawn out debates about binutils? What about a debate about bootloaders?

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is could for us to discuss software, but “die in a fire”? Really? :smile:

Speaking personally, I think the issue with SystemD in many cases is more about people having an issue with Lennart more than SystemD.

My point is more that I don’t remember this much controversy over something as uninteresting in distributions. It is something that has come up at work recently as well. Systemd seems to work as does the old init.d system, but Systemd seems to have upset far more people than anything else.

“die in a fire” is a bit strong, but it did make me chuckle :smile:

I think that is because none have existed before. :slight_smile:

I’m looking forward to seeing it more and more. I think SUSE is bringing it to SLE with SLE 12 so I’ll need to get used to it.

The apathy here is part of the problem. I’m absolutely sick of people breaking fundamental parts of Linux and then saying “whatever” when those of us who deal with massive production systems complain. Isn’t part of this whole open/free thing supposed to be that a conversation with interested parties is supposed to be valued?

The biggest problem is that sysvinit was not broken for servers. I understand that for laptop cases it seemed to folks like sabdfl that we needed to innovate to get sub second boot so that we could win the desktop. Turns out, once suspend/resume is fixed, that fast boot becomes useless.

But why would I care? Wouldn’t a more ‘modern’ design be OK too? Sure. If it worked. But it doesn’t. It’s buggy and complex and striving to be … Interesting. I agree, this SHOULD be an uninteresting space. But systemd, like upstart, tries to make it interesting. And that means that now sometimes my Linux server is going to break in new and exciting ways and I’ll have to … REBOOT it to fix it.

Really? We want to catch up with “have you tried turning it off and on?”??!?!?!?!!!?!!

In any case, systemd is trying to solve a problem that does not exist. But the fact that the distros have become so divorced from the reality that folks running systems live in is the real problem, and their adoption of systemd is merely a symptom of their myopic insanity.

I hear it may be time to try gentoo … Sigh. I’d really like to NOT be forced to deal with this.

With SSDs and increasingly faster HDDs this pretty much becomes an irrelevant point on the desktop anyway.

Besides, how many times a die does someone reboot on average anyway?!

With a Linux box, not very often.

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Unless, that is, you’re running systemd and have to reboot because something broke.


You are conflating a few different issues here:

  1. Whether a piece of software works or not.
  2. Whether the level of vitriol, arguments, and debate over system services software is interesting.
  3. Whether we should be discussing this in our community.

I agree that (1) and (3) are both critical. We should expect any software to work effectively, and particularly software at that low level of a system. Obviously any and all discussion is welcome here; I am not telling anyone they can’t discuss it.

My point is that I find it boring. I just don’t care about systemd, upstart, init or whatever else: so long as it works and it starts services, I am happy. My point is that some people (outside of this forum) treat this like a holy war and I think it seems an excessive level of bickering for such a boring piece of the system.

I agree though that some people may find it interesting and disagree, and those views are most welcome!

@jonobacon and @mordred,
I can understand apathy towards boring stuff like init systems, and definately understand not liking unstable software, even though I have personally never had any stability issues with regard to systemd. First of all, I should say that I run gentoo, and a portion that is to avoid systemd.
I take several (admittedly, relatively minor) issues with systemd.

  1. Change for the sake of change. The origional argument for the adoption of systemd was that it booted faster than most other init systems. This initially seems great, but in addition to what Mordred pointed out about suspend/resume, systemd has suffered from feature creep. By and large, from a desktop perspective there was nothing wrong with SysV init, nor any of the other replacements. Admittedly, I’m not a server admin who has to keep my machine on for donkey’s years, nor do I have to run 80 boot-up daemons on my kerosene-powered cheese grater, but there’s no reason to require re-learning to add (more) compatibility for something that very few programs should ever have to deal with anyway.
  2. Feature creep. As I already said, systemd was origionally just for boot-speed-up. Now, (to quote the systemd website) it’s the “basic userspace building block[s] to build an OS from.” What does an init system have to do with automatic module loading (udev) or login console management? Admittedly, this isn’t half as bad as it’s often made out to be, but I don’t like that it’s all integrated together-- even though it’s not one monolithic binary, it’s still developed all in one place and in general is overcomplicated. (binary logs? really?)
    And, a final point,
  3. Lack of choice. One of the main reasons so many distributions are adopting systemd is because GNOME has it as a dependency (technically this is untrue. It’s just very hard to support gnome w/o systemd.) Whilst systemd might be the best option, one of the things I’ve always (well, since I started using it in 2011) liked about linux was the modularity. Most major system components can be replaced with alternatives that might fit your use-case better. I don’t like that major software like GNOME puts a dependency on systemd’s logind.
    While 2 and 3 I feel are valid points, 1 is the most important one here. There’s no reason to fix what isn’t broken; everyone knows that causes unneeded breakage.
    Maybe I’m just biased and this is all FUD. Most arguments about systemd (including the ones I’ve put here) I’ve seen hashed out 50 times before. By and large there’s nothing wrong with systemd, per se, but I don’t particularly like it, and I definately don’t like that almost all major distros are requiring it.
    Anyway, sorry about the semi-coherent wall of text; I (and, as far as I can tell, most people with feelings about systemd) feel the need to argue about pretty much anything I even mildly don’t like.
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