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Old 02-14-2014, 10:59 AM   #1
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Mark Shuttleworth on systemd vs upstart in Debian: Losing graciously

With Bdale Garbee’s casting vote this week, the Debian technical committee finally settled the question of init for both Debian and Ubuntu in favour of systemd.

I’d like to thank the committee for their thoughtful debate under pressure in the fishbowl; it set a high bar for analysis and experience-driven decision making since most members of the committee clearly took time to familiarise themselves with both options. I know the many people who work on Upstart appreciated the high praise for its code quality, rigorous testing and clarity of purpose expressed even by members who voted against it; from my perspective, it has been a pleasure to support the efforts of people who want to create truly great free software, and do it properly. Upstart has served Ubuntu extremely well – it gave us a great competitive advantage at a time when things became very dynamic in the kernel, it’s been very stable (it is after all the init used in both Ubuntu and RHEL 6 and has set a high standard for Canonical-lead software quality of which I am proud.

Nevertheless, the decision is for systemd, and given that Ubuntu is quite centrally a member of the Debian family, that’s a decision we support. I will ask members of the Ubuntu community to help to implement this decision efficiently, bringing systemd into both Debian and Ubuntu safely and expeditiously. It will no doubt take time to achieve the stability and coverage that we enjoy today and in 14.04 LTS with Upstart, but I will ask the Ubuntu tech board (many of whom do not work for Canonical) to review the position and map out appropriate transition plans. We’ll certainly complete work to make the new logind work without systemd as pid 1. I expect they will want to bring systemd into Ubuntu as an option for developers as soon as it is reliably available in Debian, and as our default as soon as it offers a credible quality of service to match the existing init.

Technologies of choice evolve, and our platform evolves both to lead (today our focus is on the cloud and on mobile, and we are quite clearly leading GNU/Linux on both fronts) and to embrace change imposed elsewhere. Init is contentious because it is required for both developers and system administrators to understand its quirks and capabilities. No wonder this was a difficult debate, the consequences for hundreds of thousands of people are very high. From my perspective the fact that good people were clearly split suggests that either option would work perfectly well. I trust the new stewards of pid 1 will take that responsibility as seriously as the Upstart team has done, and be as pleasant to work with. And… onward.
Official Source: Mark's Blog...

While this has certainly been a derisive issue, kudos to Mark for moving forward with a decision he clearly thinks is incorrect from a technical perspective.

Old 02-14-2014, 11:03 AM   #2
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As I've mentioned elsewhere, I the last three paragraphs of this email by Russ Allbery really resonated with me.

This is a lot of text (and thank you if you read this far), but that's because this is a lot of psychology and a lot of nuance. In a lot of the outside commentary that I've seen on this discussion, there has been what I think is a failure of empathy.

It's great that people get engaged and interested in technical decisions. I think that's a strength of the open source community. But people should also get engaged and interested in understanding other *people* and finding ways to work with other people in difficult situations, since at the end of the day our communities are about people, not software. And to do that, one has to be able to step back from one's own "side" and put oneself in the other person's shoes and try to understand how they might feel and why they may hold the opinions they do.

Bias and conspiracy are easy explanations to reach for, but I don't think they do justice to the richness and diversity of our community. I think it's too easy to assume that someone who disagrees with you, perhaps very strongly, is somehow unethical. We need to be able to disagree while respecting each other's opinions.


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