Init : someone could comment this ?

Casey Dahlin cjdahlin at
Mon Jan 7 19:21:28 UTC 2008

Lennart Poettering wrote:
> 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
Fine. Let's commit to that outright, and not let ourselves sit on our 
asses for another 5 years while everything blows by. I'm pushing this 
forward because I'm sick of seeing the action being taken on the weakest 
point of our distro consisting of a bunch of stale wiki pages.

My point in saying "definitively" is that this will not be another 
mailing list thread where everyone shouts back and forth until they get 
bored and then everyone forgets about the issue. I mean to ensure we 
pick a goal, agree to stop bitching about it, and actually execute on it.

rrn or whatever it ends up being called exists because I asked Harald 
Hoyer what needed to exist for Fedora's init system to be healed, and 
then I went and made it exist. Now we don't like that solution anymore. 
Great. Pick another one, and ensure it begins happening as fast as 
possible. Or don't. I'll do all the work. Just don't complain when its 
finished. Commit, and be done with it. It is time to set a terminal date 
beyond which discussion of other solutions is no longer welcome. When we 
are interested only in the implementation of that which has already been 
decided. Source code or GTFO.

Fedora 9 is probably going to slip without a feature that should have 
been in Fedora 8. We're supposed to be innovators, and look at how much 
nothing we've done on this issue. This is absurd. I'm saying we end it now.


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