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What's the deal with Systemd?


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#1 Ubiq

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 01:18 PM

Just installed Ubuntu 14 on my lappie and updated to 15 after I got to the desktop. I noticed that systemd is one of the bits that got installed. Is this really so bad? Is it a way for baddies to take over this little computer? Spyware? Did Linus Torvalds really boot someone from a project over their advocating its use?

Is this why some people are so against Ubuntu?

I guess I need an EASY explanation since I don't really get the complete one. Or rather, I can't reconcile that article with some of the more negative descriptions of systemd.

Thank you for any explanations and totally biased, personal opinions! :flowers:


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#2 DeimosChaos

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 09:13 PM

I honestly don't know enough about either to really say much on the subject.. I do have a good friend who hates systemd though... (at least I think it is systemd that he hates... lol).

I do know Ubuntu 15.04 has both systemd and init... not really sure why since systemd was supposed to take over init... so I can't explain that one either. Sorry not much help on this one! :)


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#3 mremski

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 03:11 AM

When your system boots, it has to start somewhere :)  That's typically the "init" process, PID of either 0 or 1.

What does init actually do?  Starts everything else needed to make your system actually useful (you can easily google up these).

How does it do that?  Somehow init needs to know what has to get started.  "In the beginning", way back in the BSD days, you had rc scripts (r-un c-ontrol).  Then along came SysV Unix and "rc.d".  As systems got more complicated, the SysV init scripts started showing a bit of age and folks started creating other tools to do the same thing, ergo, systemd.

 

A Linux distribution can easily have both:  kernel boots, first it it runs is init process, first thing init does is start systemd (that's how you can have both).

 

As for personal biases:  I'm a BSD guy from way back, so I find it easier to look at SysV style init scripts and figure out what is getting started when.  systemd is another way to achieve the same thing;  I feel it hides and obfuscates things from me.  Don't worry too much about what others think;  there have been and will be some glorious religous wars in the Open Source world as to the "One True Way" something should be done.  Put 2 software developers in a room and you'll get 7 opinions.


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#4 mremski

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 03:40 AM

Second cup of coffee hit the brain.

The main objection to systemd lies in the the word "monolithic" in the linked article.  Monolithic software tends to be big, tries to do everything, Swiss Army Knife instead of a scalpel.

Why is that objectionable?

Complexity.  Hard to test everything to prove there are no bugs.  If there is a problem, hard to find root cause (trust me you want to fix root cause instead of patching symptoms.  Think of : do I keep repairing shingles on my roof or reroof the whole house).

 

Go back to one of the original design elements of Unix.  "Do one thing, do it well, do it correctly, be able to use stdin and stdout".

Do one thing means software is smaller and easier to prove correct.  Stdin and Stdout let you link programs together.

 

Lets say you're logged in as username tim.  How would you get a count of all the processes running under username tim?

You could have some program that takes all kinds of arguments that you have to look up every time or you could just do:

 

ps -ef | grep -i tim | wc -l

 

Small programs, doing one thing well, linked together via stdin and stdout.  

 

People often say that Unix isn't very user friendly.  The reality is that Unix (Linux) is very user friendly, it's just picky about who it's friends are.


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#5 DeimosChaos

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 08:36 AM

Good explanations mremski!


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#6 MadmanRB

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 02:23 PM

I say systemd is nothing to worry about, most of the fuss over it is from people who complain because they can.

For me init never seemed that good, systemd seems much faster and for a end user i dont give a cuss about developers acting like 3 year olds.


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#7 mremski

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 03:10 PM

If you are booting your system alot, systemd will make a difference.

 

If you don't it won't.  The system I am typing this on has an uptime of 128 days, 12 hrs.  Systemd would give boot of about 20 secs, Sysv init gives about 2 minutes.  Hmm.  Sysv init I get an extra 2 sips of coffee.

 

Beauty of open source:  whatever floats your boat and works for you.  Give me technical reasons as to why I should switch, I'll listen, but I'll make my own decision.  Biggest thing I see with systemd is:  what if the dependencies are wrong.  It'll boot pretty quickly, but things may be subtly broken and figuring out the root cause gets a little more difficult.  Not impossible, more difficult.


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#8 wizardfromoz

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 01:22 AM

@Ubiq

 


I guess I need an EASY explanation since I don't really get the complete one. Or rather, I can't reconcile that article with some of the more negative descriptions of systemd.

 

 

It will be a long time before the Jury comes back with a verdict on systemd vs Sysv.

 

It's worth noting two examples:

  1. Zorin OS 10, released 1st August, is based on Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet, hence it ships with systemd
  2. One of the reasons (not the only one) Clem Lefebvre (project leader of Linux Mint) discontinued following Ubuntu's lead in releases and sub-releases was because he did not want to go with systemd

I am a happy-go-lucky Linux Distro surfer, I try a number of Distros and always have at least three running on my puter.

 

Am I going to make a decision to not try a Distro (which may end up being my favourite) based on systemd vs Sysv? Not on your nellie.

 

:wizardball: Wizard






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