Arch Linux and systemd
There has been much ado on the arch-general mailing list about the move to
systemd. I participated in part of it, but like others finally tired of
"seeing a dead horse kicked" over and over and over. So much so that the
last dev who really paid attention to the list said goodbye. Yet the free
for all continues. I think a comment on Allan's blog post might illustrate
how I perceive this situation.
Are We Removing What Defines Arch Linux?
Allan McRae posted to Arch Planet on August 13, 2012 03:59 PM
It's not about a single file, ie rc.conf (well not completely), it's about
the simplicity of the system.
Controversy #2 – The demise of /etc/rc.conf
While the single rc.conf is highlighted as major feature of Arch Linux,
reading the reviews makes you notice that configuration of an Arch install
was never down to a single file. Other files mentioned included…
But lets take a step back here… How about some quotes from Judd, the
founder of Arch Linux:
“In Arch “simple” is different what other distros are considering.
The learning is more important than getting something easily done.”
“Relying on GUIs to build/use your system is just going to hurt a
user in the end. At some point in time a user will need to know all that
some GUIs hide.”
My question becomes, are we trading the simplicity and ease of setting up a
single individuals computer, not corporate or work machine, or a set of two
or three home machines for the trappings of the corporate desktop? Are we
trading learning the shell (bash or otherwise) and learning to write bug
free shell scripts, for learning a set or arbitrary and possibly arcane
rules, decided upon in a building somewhere in the world, by someone who
knows how to use your computer better than you do? We've already seen the
likes of those already seen with polkit and consolekit. Even with udev
moving into systemd, an individual on the systemd mailing list has already
stated his desire to finally be rid of udev altogether. He considers it an
abomination. As to the standardization mentioned, does not such
standardization remove one's freedom? I'm not an RMS fan, so don't go
there. However, I am old enough to remember when there was no choice for
home computers, and a commercial by Apple for the first Mac using the idea
of breaking out of 1984 and the dull boring corporate world. Now here we
are moving the one OS that's stayed somewhat of a maverick into the stable,
then out to pasture to graze with with the rest of the corporate world. At
least IMHO. It's not about changing Arch, it's about becoming part of the
corporate structure and playing nice with everyone else. You can read that
line with the knowledge "Old hippies die hard. And I still don't trust the
establishment as far a I can throw my house!"
Interoperability is necessary in today's world, but I think it can be done
with out sacrificing the heart and soul of Linux. When it comes to the move
of lib and lib64 to /usr/lib, I'm basically ambivalent. I still don't like
not being able to put /usr on a separate partition, I know there's a
mkinitcpio hook to cover that, but I can see the logic in cleaning up the
system. I've never really cared for the mess of the LSB. IMHO systemd is
for administrators who, unlike Judd Vinet, want to hide the system setup
from the user with fancy gui's and not allow anyone but the sysadmin to
make any changes.
I laud the devs who are working on this project, but I ask you to consider
"Is it better for Arch to lead one of the last bastion's of freedom when
using Linux into lock step with the the PTB's, or would it be better to
develop an alternative that keeps, not just Arch Linux, but Linux a viable
alternative to OSX, Windows, any Unix/BSD environment, and the corporate
world?" I know it's the simpler, and probably less stressfull solution, but
is it the better solution?
I firmly believe more discussions like this on the ml would be more
productive than the brawls we've seen lately. It also might provide the
dev's an opportunity to participate more instead of throwing their hands up
in the air and saying never again. To me the mailing list has become
reactive. Too many responses, I've been guilty of this, come from
predetermined ideas which may or may not be rooted in fact. They may be
rooted in the users experience which may have been affected by other
circumstances such as the dependency hell being created by the tighter and
tighter upstream integration by KDE and Gnome. This again signals the move
towards a "corporate desktop environment".
A wise unix guru, can't remember the name right now, said something to the
effect "the system should be a set of well written programs loosely
connected programs, each doing one thing and doing it well". Something many
of today's programs don't accomplish.
As I said on the arch-general mailing list. These are the battles that have
spawned many a linux distro and there is always LFS, even though they moved
to use udev inside systemd.
To those who I bcc'd this to;
I would like to humbly appologize if I intruded on your personal space, but
I wanted to make sure it would be read by you in your own private space
without the need to filter through the BS that's likely to occur on the ml.
Life's fun when your sick and psychotic!
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