Author's Opinion

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of iTWire.

Have your say and comment below.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013 12:33

Init wars: Debian inclining towards upstart Featured

By

More than a month and a half after Debian project leader Lucas Nussbaum asked the technical committee to decide on the default init system for the next release, Jessie, the question still continues to be debated.

As of this writing, the discussion runs to nearly 2000 posts. And there have been plenty of earlier discussions as well. There is no shortage of jaw on the issue.

But positions are slowly beginning to be taken.

Two members of the eight-strong technical committee have openly stated their positions and there are strong indications as to which option two others will support.

Ian Jackson, a former employee of Canonical, has come out in support of upstart, which that company incidentally uses for its well-known Ubuntu distribution, while Russ Allbery has indicated his backing for systemd, the Red Hat-developed init system.

Two others on the panel, Colin Watson and Steve Langasek, are highly unlikely to support anything other than upstart.

Both are employees of Canonical and, apart from company loyalties, it would be stupid for them to support anything else given that it would create a huge amount of additional work and also play into the hands of a competitor.

The remaining members of the panel are Debian's eminence grise Bdale Garbee, Don Armstrong, Andreas Barth, and newly appointed member Keith Packard. Barth's postings to the discussion indicate that he is in favour of systemd.

Armstrong's posts indicate that he does not like the complexity that systemd encompasses; the UNIX philosophy has always been that one program does one task, does it properly, and hands over the output to the next program to continue in the same vein.

As to Garbee and Packard, their views are not openly known. But I would not bet on Garbee backing systemd. Which means that upstart is likely to be selected by a vote of five to three or six to two.

The other options - apart from systemd and upstart - which are being considered are the existing Sys-V system, OpenRC or multiple init systems.

Supporting multiple init systems may sound nice, but it is not likely, given the amount of work that is involved. Debian has a port with the FreeBSD kernel and systemd will not work with this kernel.

The late king of Saudi Arabia, Fahd, is said to have taken two years to fire his cook, simply because he could not bring himself to offend the man. The Debian project is like Fahd in one respect - it also takes a great deal of time to settle on anything.

However it is unlikely to take as long as Fahd did because the next release will not wait that long. Going by the date of the last release, it is expected to come out by end of 2014.

Image courtesy Debian GNU/Linux project


Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here

GRAND OPENING OF THE ITWIRE SHOP

The much awaited iTWire Shop is now open to our readers.

Visit the iTWire Shop, a leading destination for stylish accessories, gear & gadgets, lifestyle products and everyday portable office essentials, drones, zoom lenses for smartphones, software and online training.

PLUS Big Brands include: Apple, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sennheiser and many more.

Products available for any country.

We hope you enjoy and find value in the much anticipated iTWire Shop.

ENTER THE SHOP NOW!

INTRODUCING ITWIRE TV

iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the iTWire.com site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.

SEE WHAT'S ON ITWIRE TV NOW!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & ON-DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News

Comments