UNIX init systems are not a topic people discusses a lot about, usually. There is some buzz when a new one is out, some more buzz when it is adopted in other shops than those where it was born, then most OS keep on with their old solution (usually the System V init system, or sysvinit) and everything falls back to radio silence. Other times, I assume, things cut short from some buzz and directly into the radio silence phase. I’ve been into the Upstart buzz, before that I’ve been into the Solaris SMF buzz and even played with it until our friend OpenSolaris was mercilessly killed by their new father. But, honestly, the heated arguments about systemd took my by surprise.
I really don’t know how I had not heard about systemd before. Maybe I was just looking in another direction, or maybe the fact that it was so controversial suggested systemd’s detractors not to talk about it in the hope that it would be yet another of those attempts that cut short from their offspring to radio silence. I don’t know. Anyway, it didn’t go that way. To me, it’s like systemd flew steadily under the radar and kept growing until the Debian project decided to adopt it as their init system. My brain just filtered the news as yet another thing I could safely ignore for the moment and I’ll have to learn about when it comes. And then the sky fell down.
What happened after that announcement was kind of the burst of a religious war, with people debating harshly, insulting each other, death threats spewed here and there, people resigning from their role in important organizations. Then came the Devuan fork of Debian. For now.
A bit too much for “just another init system”, right?
What follows is the outcome of my Christmastime readings about systemd and my own considerations about what I’ve read. I hope it will help you make up your own opinion on whether or not systemd is a good thing or a bad thing. As an extra, you can read my own opinion (for what is worth).