Will the non-systemd community run out of steam?

The explosion on interest on Devuan seems to have reached its current capacity to deal with bugs.  Judging from the absence of feedback on the Dev1 forum on issues, lack of any recent updates, the summer vacation excuse seems to be running out of time.  It is easy for us to judge and criticize but we reach the point of cruelty unless we have dealt with development itself.  The interdependence of packaging is so complex that at some point the whole project needs to halt, fill all the holes opened, and then be able to move to a next step.  I suspect that part of the problem has been on putting too many eggs in a broken basket.  The basket in this case was Debian Jessie which had issues and in the past year it was put on hold to help speed up the delayed development of Stretch.  Stretch has had so much re-engineering that much of it can not transfer to Jessie.  While Debian went into freeze, testing/Stretch had hundreds of bugs open, while Jessie had four times as many.  Devuan’s first stable edition, Devuan 1.0 – Jessie, came at an unfortunate time when Jessie was a mess.  Patience and belief on the potential of the system can be rewarding.  At the moment Jessie seems stable and is just lacking the expected development.  Meanwhile ascii is not that bad for most of us, and it also seems to be lacking any development.  But both these systems seem stable enough to work on.  They seem more like fixed distributions than rolling.    Meanwhile, the time of extended support of Debian wheezy is clicking fast.  With all troubles systemd has developed especially for server-enterprise systems, when Wheezy will reach EOL (end of life) there will be a tsunami of interest in Devuan.  And Devuan must prepare for this stress test.  Thousands and thousands of experienced sys-admins will be inquiring on the differences.  On the other side Artix is still the secret weapon few know about.  Artix seems to be further down the development path before it announces its first official stable distribution than Devuan has ever been.  Artix seems to be maturing within a small community of users.  People from Manjaro-OpenRC, Arch-OpenRC, Arch-Bang, Parabola, Void, seem to be taking an interest already.  The problems uncovered seem to be minute and negligible.  Developers seem to be active and responsive in peoples’ questions as the FAQ is getting wealthy of relieving continuous repetition of what is what.  As the testing repository is getting nearly ready, the unstable counterpart seems to have evolved as well.  The freedom of choices seems to be endless.  The installer has not received a single revision as it doesn’t seem to need any.  It comes with a base, an i3 desktop, and an LXQT, preconfigured script, but still allows you to make a choice of packages before or after the base installation.  I suspect the Artix developers didn’t take a vacation this year and all this work is paying off.

Meanwhile the systemd maze and web is expanding to choke all other distributions and forcing them to submit to a universal and centrally controlled system.  Debian instead of admitting defeat is eagerly trying to become the central part of this monopoly but with little warning to their faithful users.  In a few years it won’t matter much which systemd-based distribution you use as it will all be one system with no variation and with the inherent inability to configure anything on your own.  Only time will tell us whether we are wrong or not.

28 thoughts on “Will the non-systemd community run out of steam?

  1. After spending the first 25 years of my career in the personal computing ‘industry’ battling the autocracy of Microsoft, I made a clean break around 2005 (by way of Ubuntu) into the clear air of the open-source, network neutral community. Over the last 10 years or so, I’ve watched that community self-destruct, led by flagship initiatives such as Mozilla, VirtualBox, and now, apparently, Ubuntu, each of which have re-confirmed what we knew all along: the practical necessities of earning a living (or a profit), combined with the lure of a ripening, but decidedly temporary opportunity to cash in the ideals once held sacrosanct, guarantees the corruption of the ideal eventually (or perhaps more accurately, inevitably).

    Having struggled to ignore it for about a year now, based on years of exposure to the suffocating mediocrity imposed upon this industry by Microsoft, I can say the characterization of the forced adoption of Systemd, as “the Microsfotization” of the Linux universe — is quite apt. And (IMHO) the descriptions of the motives of the perpetrators, articulated in the op-ed, are spot-on.

    That said, absent a single committed benefactor, with the resources to finish the job Mr. Shuttleworth started, (and brought very close to fruition), I’d say the party’s over. Microsoft will absorb and digest the good thing, in order to perpetuate the corrupt and insatiable thing it has been from its inception.

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  2. [[[ Unless you have specific criiticism on them you can’t deny their existence and propose a 5 year old distribution. ]]]

    My specific critism is that it is truly “clean.” What does that mean? It means that all subsystems will compile and link without systemd crap — and I don’t have to spend time hunting for it.

    The debian post-install configuration scripts do not contain any systemd crap to strip out, either.

    If I decide to update the source for a package, I can create my build environment without systemd, update the target code to be updated, and recompile.

    If errors show up from the rebuild/recompile, and they are related to systemd, I can readily spot it and claim file that package under “crap to-do” so I (or someone) can pick it apart to find out if it’s really dependent on some ‘feature’ of systemd.

    Once an inventory of the actual packages that truly rely on systemd exists, they can be fixed, stubbed, replaced, or tossed in the wastecan forever.

    As I said in another post, the number of packages in the Debian repository is daunting.

    Clean house. I figure GUI packages are going to be the main culprits over time. In fact, the only rationalization I could make as an argument “for” systemd would be *SOLELY* within the confines of a GUI. Until recently, it behooved me as to the psychos’ real motives for systemd for universal application instead of applications limited solely to the GUI environment.

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  3. Again, devuan is debian without systemd. Same variety of packages except for the few that bring the plague onboard. You can compile your own out of source in devuan as well. I am toying around with OpenRC on devuan at the moment, but it works fine with sysvinit.
    Arch has almost as many pkg available as debian does. Arch with a block on systemd seems a bit easier than debian. Artix is the fastest system I have used ever. There is also obarun, vector, parabola, etc.
    Good luck struggling alone with wheezy, Really what you are trying to do is to make devuan.

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  4. Have you scanned/analyzed the *entire* repository for sysD dependencies? Or, just a subset that are part of Devuan? Does apt still point to Debian at all? (If so, that’s what I want to avoid — a ‘sneak attack’ so to speak.)

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  5. THANKS a lot for the fish!

    Some of you know that we from ungleich are growing our VM hosting that is completely based on Devuan. We are not doing this because of political views, but rather more because of financial incentives: maintaining systems with systemd has been so error prone (try to get mounts right that take longer time to fsck), cumbersome (anyone ever waited forever for a server to shutdown?) and time consuming (ever debugged systemd-noresolved?) that we had to switch to a non systemd architecture.

    That said, we are pushing Devuan as much as we can with our limited financial resources and we encourage everyone to further spread the word for a future in which Linux still makes fun and is worth using it.

    — Nico

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  6. My experience with Debian in the past two years is having shutdown getting quicker and quicker, it is booting up that takes forever. Servers are a different story and I have very light server use, maybe for an internal small network and not always.

    Functionality, reliability, speed, and security are all different issue and they are not alone. In light of recent year “discoveries” security issues tend to become political no matter what your background is. When anyone looses trust on large corporations and of all government “sectors” the conclusions become very political in nature. Without “any” trust there is no reason for networking but for isolation, and this becomes a militant position, even for a business person.

    We hope success in your enterprise and we welcome such kind of plugs, even for commercial purpose as it adds weight to the right side of the scale in terms of logical arguments against systemd.

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  7. as you probably noticed, the devuan forum is run with a heavy hand, via someone who has very little first-hand understand of anything about what devuan is or how it works. anything they know about devuan is spoon-fed to them.

    so if it is not the one-stop goto centre for bug issues or fixes, thats not surprising. the limitless ego that the forum runs on (which i maintain hope does not characterise the project which i continue to rely on daily) probably conflicts with any serious discussion of anything related to DESIGN, unless it is superficial (which fonts and colours should we use? who seriously gives a f***?)

    actually im not anti-fonts or anti-colour, but the forum is anti-facts and anti-practical matters. so lets be totally honest here– if you have a problem with a bug, the forum is the wrong place. you want the mailing list, possibly irc, or you want to email the developers if necessary. if theres a bug tracker i dont know where it is. please note: i would PREFER that the forum be a good place for solving bugs and issues. it simply isnt, and isnt likely to become so either.

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