Init : someone could comment this ?

Lennart Poettering mzerqung at
Mon Jan 7 18:12:20 UTC 2008

On Mon, 07.01.08 12:35, Casey Dahlin (cjdahlin at wrote:

>> Everytime I hear someone mentioning initng I get a headache.
>> They got almost everything wrong you can get wrong in an init
>> system. The kept the worst things from SysV (such as numerical
>> "runlevels"), and added the worst things they could find in other
>> people's software. Like the braindeadness to make everything a shared
>> object, including stuff like executing chdir(). Can you believe that?
>> They have a "plugin" to change a directory which consists of 100 lines
>> or code or so. Unbelievable...
>> Lennart
> This is all very useful.
> I am proposing a session at FUDcon to explore the options, and to 
> definitively pick a solution. Hopefully the following day's hackfest will 
> see direct effort toward implementing a solution.

"Definitively" picking a solution? Unfortunately I don't see that any
of the currently available init implementations get things
right in a way that we could "definitively" pick it.

The only one of the new systems that has good code is
Upstart. However, in my understanding it got everything hooked up the
wrong way round. I.e. instead of having other daemons contact Upstart
to start and stop services it itself hooks into all kind of
"events". A couple of RH and Novell people discussed that with Scott
at this years GUADEC conference a while back. I think we managed to
convince him that this should be changed. The result is his new
Initkit project. However, that's still in its infancy and will take
some time to be useful. This however means that now adopting Upstart
would be investing in a project that's going to be replaced soonishly
anyway. Also, Ubuntu uses Upstart mostly in SysV compatibility mode
right now.

So, in short: initng is a joke, initkit not ready yet, upstart a bit of
a moving target that's going to be replaced soon anyway. The other
systems seem to be too simple (minit, runit) or totally un-Linuxish
(SMF, launchd).

I think our safest bet for now is to stay with SysV but spice it up a
little bit with LSB headers to allow parallel startup, like Debian is
doing it now.

And then, let's wait what Scott comes up with in InitKit. Given that
he's a Canonical guy, and both RH and Novell engineers discussed
Upstart in lengths with him I hope that this is also the best bet to
get something done that is adopted by all "big three" distributions,
working a bit against the balkanization of Linux userspace. 


Lennart Poettering                        Red Hat, Inc.
lennart [at] poettering [dot] net         ICQ# 11060553           GnuPG 0x1A015CC4

More information about the fedora-devel-list mailing list