SystemD and the Linux community

Since we have a focus on community here, I thought it would be great if we could talk a little about the controversy over SystemD. Now, I don’t mean the technical details, but as of recent the social climate around System D has become increasingly contentious.

I am of course referring to:

And on the LKML side:

Why has the debate gotten so nasty? What can we do as a community to better handle these sorts of conflicts?

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Actually this is a great suggestion to be discussed even on a show. I confess I don’t know what my position is regarded to this question; I am really confused whether we should consider systemd ‘evil’ or not. Some argue that it is bloatware and too monolithic, and others find that it integrates the system as a whole very well. I am willing to see this discussion going forward.

I’m less interested in the technical aspects of the discussion, as much as why things have gotten so very nasty. It seems like trolly behavior is a major problem in the open source community. On the other half of the spectrum, there seems to be some real concern as to corporate influence.

I think change often course a nasty discuses from some people, I do not know what to do about it and just tend to ignore the whole thing - and after a time I make up my own mind. So I do not like pulse-audio; Who gives a fuck? I don’t, be course I can find a distribution that comes whit out pulse-audio and be happy. Same thing whit systemd - don’t like? Then run something else .

I look at the whole thing pretty simply… Does systemd help Linux as an operating system? I believe it does.

Can you make a distro and not include it? Yes you can

So who cares, I have always considered Opensource about choice. And we are pretty good at offering that.

On the other hand. I think the opensource community has allot of growing up to do still. Again, it’s all about choice. Don’t get hurt because it’s not what you wanted. Just go make it what you wanted. Their is no need for people to threaten and belittle others. Everyone just needs to grow up a little.

Looks like that Gregory Smith guy has spammed the lkml with more rants: - some nsfw language

I think that it has gotten nasty because it has created a rift in the community. There are many who think that we need a new init system for Linux, that most of the init systems are antiquated, etc.

Others think that, for a number of reasons, systemd is the wrong answer, and that it is trying to be the one ring to rule them all, as it is trying to take over or tie into not only init (systemd), but udev, binary logging (journald), disk management (e.g. fsck), networking (networkd), it appears to be trying to take over Linux.

There are two other things that, I believe, makes this such a hot-button issue. First, Gnome made it a hard dependency, then distributions have made unilateral decisions on behalf of their users, primarily without consulting their users. And since most of the major distros have gone with systemd, with the exception of Gentoo and Slackware, what does that do for all of the downstream distros? Debian has, based on the last diagram I saw, has the most (by a large margin) child, grandchild, etc. distrubutions, so not doing systemd could be a major disruption of the distros.

The final item is the personalities of the systemd developers. Lennart Pottering and Kay Sievers seem, at least to many outsiders, to be trying to ram this through at all costs. Even Linus was less than happy with Sievers.

There is a page that describes many of the issues at Don’t let the possibly inflammatory site name dissuade you, it is a fairly well thought out and well written page on the technical downsides of systemd.

Personally, I am less than happy with systemd myself, and have started dabbling with the BSDs.

I don’t think it’s just systemd, I think that’s just the most recent example of geeks in an im-personal online community venting their frustrations and ending up with someone taking their proverbial ball and going home. Many a project has died because the primary developer/leader got sick of dealing with shit like that. So hats off to Lennart and his crew for pushing through and getting the job done (regardless of what you think of systemd - personally I love it).

A very good point, schultzter. Something that I heard a reported recently, is the differences in civility between the Linux dev community and the BSD one. One thing that they said was that developers on the BSD side tend to average about 10 years older than devs on the Linux side. So there may be an added level of maturity coming into play. Though, looking at the intensity of mud slinging in American politics over the past 10-20 years, I might beg to differ.

Not to change the subject at all, but I will be so glad when ‘vote for me’ season is over (for now). I would think it would be so confusing. In watching TV, every candidate is an angel. No, wait, every candidate is the devil incarnate. :smile: Every election cycle makes me think of The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy when the giant robot lands and says “take me to your Lizard.”


However, comparing developers to politicians might be apples to railroad ties. These developers should be all about coding things for others to use while politicians are all about “I’m the man (or woman)”.

Debian back to discussing systemd (possibly)…

… and if those discussions don’t go well then why not just

Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.