systemd? - Printable Version
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systemd? - pizzaroll1 - 19-10-2014

Whenever anyone discusses systemd on Reddit or Hacker News, it devolves into "muh unix philosophy" from retards who have no idea what's going on, "systemd has no flaws, stop living in the past, having choices is so last decade" from some other retards, and who knows what else.

As an OpenBSD user, my opinion on systemd is that as long as it can be re-implemented so programs can use e.g. systemd-logind or openfreesystemnetlibrebsd-logind, I don't mind. More choice is good. Lock-in = bad. Everyone can agree on that.

What do other people think? Systemd: good or bad? Please no raging autism, only reasoned arguments.

RE: systemd? - dirtycommie - 19-10-2014

I've been using systemd for close to two years now, since it's bundled with Arch and homegrown packages like netctl make heavy use of it. It's certainly different from old sysvinit or Ubuntu's upstart, since it requires one to learn a new slew of commands to control your system, but it's asinine to think it'll turn your system into GNU/Windows. There are some legitimate complaints and misunderstandings, such as the track records of its main developers, as well as of the surprisingly fast pace that many distros adopted systemd, even though many users have no need for it and prefer the old init of their preferred distro, which I can sympathize with.

This is where the sensible skepticism ends, though. For the most part, criticism of the project seems to be based on paranoia, as seen here, one of the top search results for "systemd". I like how the author genuinely suggests using Plan friggin' 9 just to avoid using systemd and tries to appeal to emotion by casting Poettering as the free software devil and implying using systemd is the same as supporting radical political parties.

In defense of this monolothic abomination (aka Linux or any modern web browser), I'd like to point out that the entire reason systemd exists to begin with is to take advantage of Linux kernel features that are not being used effectively, like cgroups, and to replace old, gross parts of it like the Linux console as well as unmaintained projects such as ConsoleKit. This is why it sucked in udev, which was already exclusive to Linux. It sucks that people who like it can't use it outside of Linux-based operating systems, but what would be the point in a straight up port instead of a clone by and for other platforms? For that matter, detractors from the aforementioned web page try to come off as impartial realists, but their personal malice is extremely evident, especially when they go out of their way to shrewdly imply that:

* journald logs are proprietary blobs of jumbled nonsense that can only be correctly decoded with one tool, like a post-2003 Microsoft Office document, even though the logs' contents are completely untouched and can be easily accessed with standard GNU tools like strings
* systemd is literally the only program that can cause or has ever caused catastrophic system damage with code that runs in PID1 (because Poettering?)
* systemd is one gigantic do-everything binary like Firefox, even though the critical parts are kept small and concrete, which is demonstrated by "uselessd", a stripped down branch of the project
* Poettering himself is holding developers at gunpoint to use his APIs, as if anyone outside of Red Hat actually has to care about what he thinks

This is all on top of the countless bitter pot-shots apparently aimed at everyone who doesn't think Lennart should kill himself. No reasoning or evidence, just smart sounding snarl words like "anti-pattern" tossed out until something sticks, tied together with the age old nutcase blogger tactic of citing other people doing the same exact thing and presenting mutual stupidity as objective proof with the hopes that people won't call them out on it. It's seriously pathetic.

Now, do I think every distro should use systemd? Absolutely not, I use it solely because my experience with it has been pleasant; being able to auto-mount drives with just a file manager and safely turn off or restart my machine without root privileges in a safe and sensible manner is great. People who still want sysvinit for their boxes should be able to use it as they wish. At the same time, conspiracy theories that Red Hat or even the NSA are somehow forcing distros to use systemd, that systemd has a backdoor hewn in by the same federal agency, that completely user-end applications like GIMP will require it, etc, etc, only serve to turn otherwise impersonal, unbiased discourse into a pissing contest by *nix fanatics with nothing better to do with their time and causing distro leaders to get impatient and make hasty, unanimous decisions so they don't have to listen to idiot manchildren on their mailing lists mockingly accuse them of having homosexual relations with Poettering.

RE: systemd? - pizzaroll1 - 19-10-2014

The only people who actually have the high ground in the "muh unix, do one thing" argument are people who use a microkernel and never use any web browsers, text editors or any programs at all. No actual Unix has ever had anything but a monolithic kernel anyway, which flies in the face of the twisted, extreme "Unix philosophy" the anti-systemd zealots claim to support.

Some of these anti-systemd people actually seem reasonable until they bring out these sorts of arguments. Actually reasonable criticisms I've seen are:
  • Not portable (although, like you said, this is pretty much necessary, unless everyone implements all of the features of Linux)
  • Some daemons can be swapped out, some can't (you have to use journald) - bad for choice, I suppose. But then again, but then again does that email actually prove anything other than the skill with which the author can make analogies?
  • The devs aren't nice?

It gets pretty hard after a while to think of arguments that apply to everyone. There's always the "sysvinit/openrc/runit is better for me" argument, but obviously, that's not a real argument, since it's just personal preference.

It's worth mentioning that there are idiots on the other side of the systemd fence too. I was once arguing with someone about X11 and he told me to open up top and tell me what user my X server was running as. I told him "_x11". But that's clearly impossible unless you have systemd to let you turn water into wine and have your laptop walk on water.

Whatever I or anyone else thinks, I still don't understand why this issue is so polarising. Everyone either hates or loves systemd. It's even worse than vi vs Emacs, because at least that debate involved actual discussions of the programs involved rather than non-technical "philosophical" debates. Actually, you know what, there are a lot of Vim zealots arguing on the internet nowadays, I might have to take that one back.

RE: systemd? - venam - 20-10-2014

Here are my 2 cents about systemd: it's very nice to manage daemons and mounting with it. As far as the implications of how it's implemented, it doesn't matter as long as it doesn't interfere with the rest of the environment. It's this last point that people are arguing about, systemd has made some decisions that integrates the work of other pieces of software or make them unusable.

RE: systemd? - vompatti - 20-10-2014

The problem for me is that it sucks everything in it and I'm kind of forced to use it. If I weren't so lazy, I'd switch to minirc (can be found at, just google arch linux minirc) or leave linux for bsd since debian is too taking sysyemd in.

RE: systemd? - pizzaroll1 - 20-10-2014

What about Gentoo or Slackware? No, I can't say that with a straight face.

Anyone who really wants to avoid all traces of systemd will have to go to BSD. If Debian ends up mandating that no package can depend on a specific init, though, maybe you'll be able to stick with Debian and sysvinit, if you really want to. If not, then you'll have dozens of packages depending on systemd and no way not to use systemd if you want a usable OS. I guess we'll see.

RE: systemd? - z3bra - 21-10-2014

The discussion is not about wether systemd works or not, because it does. Obviously it's not perfect (as any software), but overall, it's fine. The problem comes from the implementation. Linux is *NOT* a company, and will never be.

A company doesn't need a handful of minisoftware. it wants one big software to do *everything*. And that's what systemd does. The problem is that systemd "forbids" the use of any other software by creating dependencies within the softwares that use it. That's why you'd have to recompile almost all your softs if your remove systemd from a system, to get rid of systemd dependencies. It's the first time in the linux history where programs have a special behavior because of the init system. Seriously, why would you want `mpv` (the video player) to be linked to your init system ?!

Now there are two point of view:
  • Systemd is nice, it makes every software work with it !
  • Systemd is shit, it makes every software depend on it !

I find systemd convenient in a professional environment, where you don't have to monitor thousands things. But personnaly, I like the ability to replace every piece of soft by an other on my systems..

Then you *still* have a choice of distro: gentoo, slackware, crux, alpine, nutyx, ... Sure, those are "raw" distro that you have to build by hand. But if you just want your distro to "run", then, systemd will do it.

RE: systemd? - sodaphish - 29-10-2014

systemd is a lot like SuSE's monolithic management tool, which makes life a living hell for anyone who actually understands SysV RC files. Seriously, there's a lot of software out there, in the commercial space, that relies on SysV init files, and systemd breaks the shit out of them. That's why the likes of Red Hat haven't adopted them, and like it or not RH is the standard for "commercial" Linux.

RE: systemd? - xero - 30-10-2014

i use arch, so i have become intimately familiar with systemd.

i have written like 5 posts for this thread then deleted them.

so let's just say i'm torn about the issue.

RE: systemd? - bsdkeith - 24-04-2015

I'm not keen to have programs so dependant on an init system, (I hated a certain O/S & its registry), & from what I understand, things (programs) will be tied to it. I have, at the moment, a foot in both camps but may leave Linux in favour of (Open)BSD if every distro is forced into using it.

RE: systemd? - jobss - 24-04-2015

(24-04-2015, 01:08 PM)bsdkeith Wrote: I'm not keen to have programs so dependant on an init system, (I hated a certain O/S & its registry), & from what I understand, things (programs) will be tied to it. I have, at the moment, a foot in both camps but may leave Linux in favour of (Open)BSD if every distro is forced into using it.

Unfortunately it seems like a lot of Distro's are going to make the transition to SystemD. You could of course install your own init system, depending on what distro you want to modify it may take some work.

Gentoo and Slackware are awesome because both stated that they will not transition to SysD.

RE: systemd? - ThePlantMan - 24-04-2015

Different things for different users. Although I don't like systemd, it's not a big deal for Average Joe who's just browsing the web and playing games. But for servers and some workstations, it creates more problems than it solves, if it solves any at all. My server only boots up once every few weeks at most, I don't care how fast or slow that is. My server doesn't need pulseaudio. I'm never adding or removing devices to it so I don't care about udev. Systemd is in many ways a solution looking for a problem. What started out as an init system revamp turned into an all-encompassing machine management framework that doesn't play nice with others. The project is run with an iron fist and they don't care if their code is interoperable with other modules, they want you to use theirs. It's no good.

RE: systemd? - jobss - 28-04-2015

I just found out that systemd has auditing that can log all system calls to /etc/password to the audit log. Defiantly concerned.

RE: systemd? - z3bra - 28-04-2015

Wait.. what? Like ptrace? Do you have any link?

RE: systemd? - jobss - 28-04-2015

(28-04-2015, 02:13 PM)z3bra Wrote: Wait.. what? Like ptrace? Do you have any link?

I originally heard it from Linux4UnMe's video

The article that he was reading from can be found here

He starts to talk about it at 6:48 and continues to 10:56.

I think I will stay away from minor distro's that use systemd.

RE: systemd? - z3bra - 28-04-2015

Here is what you're talking about. Looks like Lennart accepted to deal with NSA's needs (even if he's stating the opposite, he still did it). There is also another part that bother scare me. See below

  • auditing: implemented for when your application needs to be NSA approved (that appeared to be the main reason, Lennart himself said he's not a big fan of it). Can log all system calls made to /etc/passwd etc to the audit log. Auditing is integrated with journald, audit-tools to read the logs have been improved.
  • Linux distributions are moving to "stateless" systems, with only /usr content available/writable. If /etc/ and /var are unpopulated, the system (systemd) will do the minimal bits to boot up the system. Only your own changes would make it to /etc. systemd adds better support for these kind of setups.

RE: systemd? - zer0rest - 28-04-2015

This thread makes me want to leave ArchLinux and go to something else D=

RE: systemd? - bsdkeith - 29-04-2015

Welcome to *BSD, zer0rest. :)

RE: systemd? - ThePlantMan - 30-04-2015

OpenBSD 5.7 being released tomorrow May 1 2015 :) Not only is it systemd free, it also comes with LibreSSL.

RE: systemd? - bsdkeith - 30-04-2015

I shall be downloading & upgrading in about a week or so, when the servers are fairly quiet again.
This will be my first 'upgrade' of OpenBSD, (before, I just re installed).

RE: systemd? - greduan - 02-05-2015

I like how this immediately turned into "welcome to OpenBSD". lol

TBH I've no opinion on the matter. Personally I like the BSD init system, which can be impressively fast and simple, though a little bit harder to learn the ropes if you're not used to it.

I used Arch for around 2 years total, all of which I spent inside systemd. All I know is that when I tried to install busybox I could only get to boot and couldn't get X to work. So I guess systemd was doing more than I realised.

RE: systemd? - jobss - 02-05-2015

(02-05-2015, 09:41 AM)greduan Wrote: I used Arch for around 2 years total, all of which I spent inside systemd. All I know is that when I tried to install busybox I could only get to boot and couldn't get X to work. So I guess systemd was doing more than I realised.

Nowadays X requires systemd, so to get it to work without systemd you would have to compile it from source and remove systemd. I am trying to figure out how exactly one goes about doing that because I want to remove systemd on my Opensuse. I do believe that right not wayland does not require systemd, so you may have better luck with wayland.

RE: systemd? - greduan - 02-05-2015

(02-05-2015, 11:32 AM)jobss Wrote: Nowadays X requires systemd, so to get it to work without systemd you would have to compile it from source and remove systemd.
Not necessarily. OpenBSD have their own port of X11, which IIRC has patches to be able to run X not as root, and of course all the possible security patches. :)

Of course BSD doesn't have systemd so it can also run without systemd.

Also on CRUX you didn't need systemd to run X11.

RE: systemd? - jobss - 02-05-2015

(02-05-2015, 12:00 PM)greduan Wrote:
(02-05-2015, 11:32 AM)jobss Wrote: Nowadays X requires systemd, so to get it to work without systemd you would have to compile it from source and remove systemd.

Also on CRUX you didn't need systemd to run X11.

Some Linux users have all the luck. When I try to remove systemd with

zypper remove systemd

I get prompted that it will remove xorg-X11 and all of the other X drivers. I sure do wish that distributions support many configurations out of the box to allow for users to set it for how they like. I know some do like Gentoo and Crux but not many.


(02-05-2015, 11:32 AM)jobss Wrote: Nowadays X requires systemd, so to get it to work without systemd you would have to compile it from source and remove systemd.

After reading some more on the Arch forums, Xorg-X11 does not have systemd compiled into it, there is a file inside X that allows for systemd integration. So I will see if deleting that file will allow for me to remove systemd without getting rid of X and moving to Wayland. I am glad that they did it this way, if it works I do not have to recompile X. I will not be able to test this tho till Monday or Tuesday.

RE: systemd? - shevy - 29-07-2015

The statement that xorg depends on systemd is not correct.

Here is the official reply from alanc:

shevy> Hello. Does Xorg depend on systemd?
alanc> you can build it to use systemd services or to not use them, depends on your ./configure options
shevy> ah ok so I assume that means it is optional, thanks alanc
alanc> yes
alanc> since Xorg supports many platforms on which systemd will not run

On the topic itself:

systemd does too many things at the same time.

It was not the first to break the old unix philosophy by the way, that was already broken by things like SELINUX and so forth.

There are actors at work who try to change linux into a commodity rather than a hacker OS; some reasons can be understood e. g.
to "prepare linux for the masses". In doing so, several old users will be alienated.

This happened before as well e. g. gnome3 or unity crap.

What amazes me is how quickly systemd conquered all the various distributions. It has a lot of momentum and thus will win out
simply by momentum alone.

RE: systemd? - vypr - 31-07-2015

I don't mind systemd, however distro's implementation of it being required as a dependency by many things (Xorg, Chromium, etc) is wrong imo.