Linux: Why do people hate systemd?

Also in today’s open source roundup: Why you should switch to private, encrypted messaging, and what is your favorite Linux distribution?

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Why do people hate systemd?

systemd has caused an almost unending amount of controversy in the Linux community. Some Linux users have been unyielding in their opposition to systemd, while others have been much more accepting.

The topic of systemd came up in a recent thread in the Linux subreddit and the folks there did not pull any punches when sharing their thoughts about it.

Kernel-panic started the thread with this post:

Why do people not like Systemd?

Serious question, why do people hate on Systemd so much. I keep hearing people express how much they hate it, but no one ever explains why it is so bad. All I have ever read are good things (faster start times, better logging, etc).

Can someone give me an objective reason why Systemd is not good, what is a better alternative?

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His fellow Linux redditors responded with their thoughts:

Mguzmann: “Muh unix philosophy!!!”

Jjjjewalkmanterug: “Faster start time than what? Not really than most other modern things. Better logging? The binary logging is a criticism a lot of people have, it provides faster indexing but binary logs are more easily corrupted and that's in general what people dislike. Log corruption has been witnessed more than once in the wild with systemd.”

The real anger against systemd is that it's inflexible by design because it wants to combat fragmentation, it wants to exist in the same way everywhere to do that. The people that dislike systemd are mostly the people that wanted to choose, and systemd takes this away with Lennart's primadonna attitude typically coming down to 'You shouldn't be caring about no longer being able to do this, because I don't care about it'.

systemd is middle-of-the-road, the people who either want a hyper secure, or hyper small or hyper fast system are left out. The truth of the matter is that it barely changes anything because systemd has only been adopted by systems who never catered to those people anyway. It's mostly been adopted by systems who cater to people who don't really care about 'under the hood' as long as their desktop environment keeps running.

Sub200ms: “systemd has almost no required external dependencies; they consist largely of glibc (or a compatible libc), setcap and libmount. It is all in the readme file in the git repo if you actually care about technical facts.

The whole "systemd dependency" shtick is getting old: it simply isn't true.

What is true however, is that non-systemd distros for years failed to maintain ConsoleKit either through dumb ignorance or because they used systemd-shim instead. That in in turn forced upstream projects like KDE to only support the systemd-logind API, simply because no other maintained alternative existed. ”

Lumentza: “Some people like systemd, some people don't. Most people don't even care.

Be careful with generalizations, just because you spoke to some experienced Linux users with a certain opinion on something, you can't conclude that every experienced Linux user shares that opinion.

When I was a total noob incapable of installing Debian I felt guilty for liking Gnome and KDE, with time I realised that many other people liked them too. I understand why some criticized the complexity of a Desktop Environment and preferred a plain Window Manager, but I still choose a full Desktop Environment in most cases.

The situation with init systems is not exactly the same, because while you can easily choose to use a Desktop Environment, a Window Manager or even no GUI at all, in most distributions you can hardly change the init system, also, some higher layers are developing dependencies on systemd, and that's what drives some systemd detractors crazy, but if you want to have a systemd free system you still have choices.”

Ssssam: “This post explains quite well why the systemd migration was the perfect storm.

However for most users who don't delve into sysadmining it really does not matter which init system you use. If you distro's dev's find it easier to make a great distro with or without systemd then let them make the choice.”

Spifmeister: “Linux is filled will skilled, technically proficient people who hold strong opinions on how linux should be developed and grow. Most of these views are irrelevant, the decision is with those that do the work. The power and say in the linux communities are with those skilled people who take the time to do the work (even non programmers). Many who complain cannot or will not do the work on alternatives or do the work to maintain the old way.

I find systemd unit and service files to be easier to maintain, more importantly, it is easier to transfer that knowledge to someone else (or me a year or two later). There have been time when I need to fix, change something and I open up a script, and I have to figure out what they did or why they did it that way (I did not always understand my colleague or my young self's code).

A maintainer of Arch linux boot scripts gave these reasons why systemd was adapted for Arch Linux, I believe Fedora and other distros did it for similar reasons.”

Beertown: “I think systemd's haters should blame the distributions maintainers instead of systemd's developers, because they are liable for ruining their favourite linux-based OS adopting systemd. And haters can just switch to a non systemd distribution and live happy.”

Photogurt: “Because people tend to not like change and systemd has grown in scope. Systemd is seen as doing more than it should. Personally, I really like it.”

5heikki: “I'm not strongly with or against systemd, but IMO it's a little bit alarming how it is expanding (has expanded) to be much more than just an init system. It has taken over functions that did not need any fixing. For example, what do we need systemd timers for? We have cron. The systemd timers seem like unnecessary bloat to me.”

LastFireTruck: “Very stable. Very easy and configurable way to manage services. Nice boot review blame output. Great, easy fstrim.timer for ssds. Reviewing logs also easy.

I prefer it. Don't want a distro without it.”

Knobbysideup: “For me it's that it overcomplicates things that should be simple. I'm talking as a sysadmin/user, not as someone writing scripts for it. This paired with NetworkManager makes me nuts.”

CarthOSassy: “Because after systemd, no one will be able to work on their own system any more. They will just pull down systemd, and accept whatever it is - because it is a massive, deeply interconnected rat's nest, and no one but its very small group of creators will ever be able to extend or maintain it.

This is especially a problem because systemd now includes so much. A lot of people are wondering when alternatives to systemd implementations will just stop being developed. I expect that, eventually, things like networkd and logind will become the only supported interfaces to the functionality they expose. At that point, only systemd's owners will be able to work on the login or network functionality of Linux-Systemd.

One begins to wonder how long the prefix to that name will remain relevant.”

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Why you should switch to private, encrypted messaging

Privacy has become one of the biggest issues facing online users as governments and companies attempt to spy on them. One writer at Medium has decided to dump Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp and other applications in favor of private, encrypted messaging.

Henning von Vogelsang writes on Medium:

When you are communicating online, everything you say is transmitted openly, without restrictions. Anyone who will intercept your message can read it. Any company, whose services you are using, will scan what you wrote to learn more about you.

They don’t do it because they can, they do it because they need to: Their business model is advertising, and ad people want to target specific consumer groups. So they want to know all about your life: how old you are, how many children you have, where you are living, what income you are making, what you are buying, and what you like and don’t like.

We have the power to protect ourselves from unethical governments and corporations with hidden agendas. We can simply install an app and finally gain our right back, the right we were given at birth, a right that makes us who we are.

The right to think and talk freely, without anyone grabbing that and turning it against us.

More at Medium

What is your favorite Linux distribution?

There are many different Linux distributions available to choose from, but which one is your favorite? has a poll up that lets you cast a vote for your favorite Linux distro:

Of all the many questions you might ask an open source enthusiast, none may evoke quite the passionate response as asking which distribution they prefer.

People choose a distribution for many reasons, from look and feel to stability, from speed to how it runs on older machines, from the pace of updates to simply which offers the packages they need. Whatever the reason, with so many distributions available, asking which one you use can be seen as a proxy for asking how you choose to interact with your computer.

And even if you've been a die-hard fan of a particular distribution, it doesn't mean your preferences can't change over time. Trying out new distros can bring new perspectives and experiences, and makes it easier for you to make informed recommendations as you help friends, family, and colleagues make the switch to Linux.

So as we do every year, we'd like to take this opportunity to ask you what your favorite Linux distribution is, and why? In order to keep it to a manageable number of choices in our poll, we've limited it to the top ten distributions according to DistroWatch over the past 12 months. The list is far from scientific—it biases towards users of desktop distributions sitting behind unique IP addresses who take the time to visit and be counted—but it's a starting point.

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