[svlug] Devuan

Steve Litt slitt at troubleshooters.com
Sun Jul 10 17:57:32 PDT 2016

On Sun, 10 Jul 2016 02:09:30 -0700
Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:

> Some years back, not long after noticing my Debian systems had /dev
> managed by a shiny new daemon, I posted about it to Don Marti's
> linux-elitists mailing list, wondering about the necessity.  Which
> drew a rather surly, passive-aggressive rejoinder from Greg
> Kroah-Hartman, the author/architect of udev.  Greg said:  My daughter
> needs to be able to be able to casually plug a USB printer into my
> Linux box and have the device node autopopulate and trigger the right
> behaviour to do printing, and it's not reasonable to require her to
> wield root access to do that.
> I reassured Greg that I wished only the best for his daughter, but
> that many of us are _not_ Greg K-H's daughter and have different
> needs.

The preceding is a perfect example. In a supposed effort to get that
last, dumbest user, they create an albatross. Which wouldn't be all
that bad, except they make sure their albatross is absolutely
incompatible with the easy manual interchangeable part building methods
we've been using since the Unix founders made two and three letter
commands to make it easy to pipe them all together to make a 1 line
application. People like Greg K-H could have taken a little effort to
make their albatrosses compatible with what came before and was working
very well for half way educated users, but compatibility isn't their

> One size does not fit all -- 


> yet distro packagers act like it does.

Some distros more than others.

> And that is a problem for me.  

Me too.

> Fortunately, it's an eminently solvable
> problem, because this is open source.  

Except in the case of Halloween code, true.

> Let me elaborate on that:

> http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Debian/openrc-conversion.html starts out
> with six shell commands that replace systemd on Debian 8 'Jessie'
> with your choice of other packaged init, and make sure systemd cannot
> return. Frankly, I stole those commands wholesale from other people's
> work, tested them, and documented them.

The package manager-foo you discuss in the preceding referred document
can vanish any time, and indeed encounters hostility from many in the
Debian community, starting with this doozy from Paul Tagliamonte, who
apparently had the power to move Thorsten Glaser's request that
sysvinit continue as an alternative:


Notice how that thread resembles a pro-systemd kangaroo court.

And then later in the thread the Debian Dev crybabies bemoaned the extra
work of maintaining both a sysvinit run script (which they've been
doing for years) and a systemd unit file (which is advertised as being
dirt simple). They decided not to guarantee continuing sysvinit. A few
months later, during the Debian-User uprising, Ian Jackson's created a
General Resolution for loose coupling of init systems (the way it had
always been)

In general, software may not require one specific init system to be
  pid 1.  The exceptions to this are as follows:

   * alternative init system implementations
   * special-use packages such as managers for init systems
   * cooperating groups of packages intended for use with specific init

On 11/18/2014, the "DDs" voted that the whole vote was not necessary,
thus affirmatively stating there was absolutely no duty to make it
possible for Debian users to use Debian packages unless systemd was
running as pid1. Ian Jackson quit, and on 11/27/2014 the Debianfork
project put out their famous "Don't panic and keep on forking" email.
As the next few months proved, those saying the "Veteran Unix Admins" at
debianfork.org were bluffing were proven very wrong: Debian is useable
and moving forward.

> That simple set of commands accomplishes, essentially effortlessly,
> what any number of anti-systemd people, and for that matter
> pro-systemd people, have gone around claiming is impossible

Yes it does. For now. But there were two votes, and both votes
give the "Debian Devs" carte-blanche to sabotage, either by not caring
or by malice, non-systemd Debian installations. Working around whatever
punji stake pits Debian lays out in the future is a game of whack a
mole, regardless of how easy it is today. Redhat is paying what, a
million a year in developer salaries, to people with an active
hostility to anything not systemd, including Linux and Posix. You
mentioned one of them yourself earlier in this email.

Debian affirmatively declared that making possible of non-systemd inits
is not their duty. And they also showed their true colors.

You know why we moved heaven and earth to find alternatives and even
fork a distro, rather than using the six packager-foo commands you
mention? Ben Franklin said it best:

"They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Or maybe the Three Little Pigs are a better allegory:
Package-manager-foo workarounds for Debian's intention are houses of
straw and sticks: Devuan is a house of bricks.


Steve Litt 
July 2016 featured book: Troubleshooting Techniques
     of the Successful Technologist

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