Init system evaluation thanks

Most people who follow Debian are probably aware that we're currently in the middle of a major debate over the future of Debian's init system. Over the past month, and particularly over the past week, I undertook an evaluation of two of the options in that debate, using one of my packages as a test bed. I also did a lot of reading, filed a few bugs, and asked a bunch of questions. That's an extension of the questions I've been asking and discussions I've been participating in around init systems for the past year plus.

I have been keeping my opinions and writeups confined to the relevant Techncial Committee bug report so that they can be read in context with their rebuttals. There are a lot of thoughtful and well-informed opinions here, of which mine are only one, and several of my conclusions have been inaccurate or at least not complete, so the context is important. You can find the full traffic in the Technical Committee bug. Most of the discussion, in a threaded view, is in the Technical Committee archives for December.

However, in one of the messages I sent today, I tried to show my appreciation for the people who have assisted with this evaluation over the past week, month, and years, and I think that section deserves broader distribution outside of the ongoing discussion. It is therefore included below.

Throughout this evaluation process, my interactions with upstart and systemd upstream developers and Debian packagers have been uniformly excellent. Bug reports filed against both systemd and upstart have received excellent and timely response, and all involved have been quite willing to explain things I've misunderstood, correct my false starts, and discuss technical and practical aspects of their designs.

I was particularly impressed by the clear effort that the systemd and upstart maintainers in Debian have put into fully integrating their init systems in such a way that makes them easy to test and use with existing Debian packages. This includes but is not limited to update-rc.d support, invoke-rc.d support, status synchronization with sysvinit, past Policy discussion, and attention to upgrade paths and init-switching use cases.

I also want to particularly thank the OpenRC upstream development team for their involvement in this process and their contributions to the discussion. I personally don't think that package is a good match for Debian's needs on Linux, but that's through no fault of the people involved, and I think they would be an excellent upstream if that package looked like a good fit for the needs of any of Debian's non-Linux ports.

I also want to thank Petter Reinholdtsen, Roger Leigh, and everyone else who has worked on the sysvinit package over the years, the insserv conversion to dependency-based boot, and the inclusion of LSB support. If it weren't for their hard work, we would be in a far worse position than we are today. It's often hard to see people discussing the inadequacies of something into which you put years of hard work. I want to call attention to their long-term contributions to the distribution, and to the number of Debian systems that have booted through their efforts over the years.

Posted: 2013-12-30 15:17 — Why no comments?

Last modified and spun 2013-12-30