Comment 2TFY Re: Benefits servers and system admins the most


Is it time to fork Debian?


Benefits servers and system admins the most (Score: 2, Informative)

by on 2014-10-19 18:37 (#2TFW)

I object to the frequently repeated assertion that system admins don't want systemd, and that it only benefits desktop users.

SysVinit scripts don't have any way to restart services that have quit/crashed. That is EXTREMELY important on servers, and it's absence is a notable missing feature on Linux. There are various add-ons that do this, like daemontools, but they can't replace SysVinit, so you're stuck maintaining two mutually incompatible methods for running services.

I don't care about boot-up times, but not being able to have all system services automatically restarted (without human intervention at 3am), should anything happen to them, is a glaring failure on Linux, putting it a couple decades behind its competitors.

Debugging a system, and/or rebooting it every time it comes up but a network file system didn't mount in-time... Getting paged at 3AM every day, because after 2 years of uptime, crond happened to crash and across hundreds of servers that's a daily occurrence... etc. These are all very important to any server admins, and hardly matter to desktop users.

And to preempt the common responses:

You would NOT want to be paged at 3am just because crond crashed after 2 years of uptime. It's crazy to claim someone needs to investigate every such happenstance. It's also crazy to claim you should rewrite all your startup scripts so every system service is run out of daemontools. After all.. ANY service that you need running is "critical" and failure can't be ignored. Right now, these system restarts are typically performed by poorly-paid NOC personnel, who understand less about the services in question than systemd does. And needing to have NOC folks working around the clock is prohibitive for small shops (who have system admins who would like to sleep through the night) and increases the TCO for large shops, who made need a large number of NOC employees because restarting services becomes a full-time job to the exclusion of other job duties, given enough servers.

Automatic service restarts are perfectly safe. If there was any such issue, it would be looming over daemontools since forever, and the widespread adoption of systemd by every distro out there just serves to show the experts just might know something. Those claiming systemd is bad and useless have to come up with vast conspiracy theories to explain away the enthusiastic and widespread adoption.

I hate to jump into the systemd flame war yet again, where typically the least-informed and least affected shout the loudest. After all, there's no benefit to interrupting the detractors, because every distro out there is already on the side of systemd, and the ranting and moaning on sites like this won't change that.

Re: Benefits servers and system admins the most (Score: 4, Insightful)

by on 2014-10-19 19:56 (#2TFY)

Evilviper, I think you're at risk of treating this as a duopoly, which is not. This isn't an issue of sysV vs. systemd. In fact, from what I'm reading, most people start off their argument by saying "we agree system V init needs to be replaced with something better. But this isn't it." Your criticisms of system v are on the mark, but many people - me included - would argue that systemd solves those problems but gives you a whole bunch of new problems. That uselessd looks pretty interesting, for example. I dunno.

On my desktop systemd is probably not a big issue, and I'd appreciate the faster boot time. On my servers though I want something that resembles system v init scripts. And while I'd like solutions to the weaknesses you describe here accurately, I don't want systemd to be that solution. I think these fork guys are of the same philosophy - they don't want systemd to become an imposed new standard, and to continue looking around while things evolve. Committing to systemd is a big jump it's hard to back out of.

Lastly, when you think about how much work it is to maintain Debian, threatening to fork it is a BIG undertaking: the hardware support, the enormous package repository, etc. That is a huge project and it's the foundation to Ubuntu, which is the foundation to hundreds of other things. What's that Hindu concept of the universe where there are turtles standing on top of monkeys who are on top of alligators ... all the way down to the elephants? This is like changing out the elephants - no simple feat!


Time Reason Points Voter
2014-10-20 07:12 Insightful +1
2014-10-19 21:57 Insightful +1
2014-10-20 10:46 Interesting +1

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