Jessie, out

Yesterday, Debian announced the release of Jessie as their new stable release, after 24 months of development and patches

First and foremost, Jessie comes with systemd – sysvinit being still available.
Let’s review the fundamentals, before unleashing the troll:

  • Kernel 3.16
  • LibVirt 1.2.9
  • Xen 4.4
  • Vzctl 4.8
  • Asterisk 11.13
  • Puppet 3.7
  • Apache 2.4.10
  • Bind 9.9
  • GCC 4.9
  • PHP 5.6
  • PostgreSQL 9.4
  • MySQL 5.5.43
  • Samba 4.1

Now let’s go back on Systemd, and to Lennard Poettering “gifts” to the community, in general.

Systemd is controversial for many reasons. At first, it was about re-inventing the wheel.
Systemd is supposed to replace sysvinit scripts – powering most of your Unix distributions since 20 years or so.
Although, systemd relies on Linux Kernel specifics, and thus is not portable to BSD. On that subject, Poettering tells us even if his solution would be portable, BSD users won’t switch to it, so there’s no problem in creating a sysvinit alternative targeted to Linux systems (which feels like it could be true, but also sounds like racism), and anyway, porting it would require time investigating on alternatives (see #13 and #15 fom Lennard response to its detractors).
The thing is, systemd does not only replace sysvinit, but also manage file system mounting, power and devices management, disk encryption, network configuration, sessions management, GPT partitions discovery, … Some may argue that Systemd goes against Unix philosophy of “doing one little thing, and do it well”.

From the practical point of view, systemd stores its logs using journald, and binary files. Logs are thus corruptible, and can’t be manipulated as easily as traditional plain-text files.
Being dependend on Linux kernel, using a perticular version of systemd implies running a compatible version of Linux kernel.
Systemd differs from sysvinit by being non-deterministic, non-predictible. Its process is hidden within init, risking to bring down the whole system by crashing. Meanwhile, a plenty of non-kernel system upgrades would now require you to restart your system anyway – tastes like Windows, feels like Windows, …

So why trying to fix something that is working? Why main distributions all seems to switch to systemd, when there is other replacement such as openRC, or even sysvinit?

By nature, integrating and re-designing Unix core components such as udev or dbus unilaterally involve both having all components systematically installed (when a server does not automatically need them), as well as their interface being progressively and obscurely rewritten, providing new interfaces. At some point, GNOME started using logind from systemd, to authenticate users. Setting up GNOME without systemd became acrobatic. More and more distributions are forced to integrate systemd.

Systemd could be described as a system daemon, sometimes referred as a “basic userspace building block to make an OS from”, engulfing features formerly attributed to a syslog daemon, your network or device managers, … Systemd’s spread is symbolic, showing a radical shift in thinking within the Linux community: desktop-oriented, choice-limiting, isolationist. Collateral victim being Debian/kFreeBSD, guilty of not using the holy Linux kernel.

Finishing on a parenthesis regarding kFreeBSD architecture of Debian: despite being encouraged to build it by myself, I’m a bit puzzled.
On one hand, you have the installation-guide-kfreebsd-amd64 package, containing a few HTML files with the well-known documentation, broken links to non-existing kernel and initrds. On the other hand, the kfreebsd-source-10.1 package, which Makefile doesn’t seem to work at all. Hooray for Poettering.

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