[arch-general] Think twice before moving to systemd

Felipe Contreras felipe.contreras at gmail.com
Tue Aug 14 21:35:15 EDT 2012


I just became aware that Arch Linux plans to switch to systemd, and
this worries me for several reasons.

I tried systemd a while ago in a brand new machine with Arch Linux and
the boot was *much slower*. After some exchanges with Lennart
Poettering and other people in Google+[1], it became clear I was on my
own. Eventually I found the culprit: Fedora uses CONFIG_HZ_1000, and
Arch Linux uses CONFIG_HZ_300. It became clear to me that systemd was
not ready for prime time, it wasn't thoroughly tested in a lot of
machines, and if you have problems Lennart Poettering will blame you
(PulseAudio sounds familiar?).

systemd was the reason I stopped using Fedora in the first place; when
they moved to it my machine stopped booting reliably. My configuration
was non-standard (a single encrypted partition), so I guess they never
tested that. Similarly, I expect many Arch Linux users to bite these

Finally, it's much harder to debug. If you have a problem you will not
be able to open a script and figure out what is happening, and perhaps
modify it, and debug it. You would be greeted with an unmodified
binary, and the source code would be along these lines:


I'm sure in due time systemd will be ready, and will have nice
advantages, but I doubt that's the case right now. Has anybody looked
into the CONFIG_HZ issue? I doubt that.

I was expecting more from the Arch Linux community, something along
the lines of Google's analysis to pick to mercurial[2], but so far I
have only seen a couple of people saying +1 in the development mailing
list, with barely any explanation at all. Such an important move (one
that might make users' machines stop booting) should warrant at least
an analysis of some sort, with clear advantages. Would it not?

At the moment I am unconvinced; does systemd has any *real* advantage?
I don't think so; the potential of breakage outweighs the "supposed"
advantages, and I think a proper analysis would show that.


[1] https://plus.google.com/108736516888538655285/posts/BTG39o6YoGS
[2] http://code.google.com/p/support/wiki/DVCSAnalysis

Felipe Contreras

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