[arch-general] My end-user $0.02 on /etc/rc.conf splitting.

Heiko Baums lists at baums-on-web.de
Tue Jul 24 19:46:50 EDT 2012

Am Tue, 24 Jul 2012 16:25:52 +0200
schrieb Tom Gundersen <teg at jklm.no>:

> Talking about "UNIX philosophy" and "Windoze like ini files" is
> probably what gets some people going. It is not technical.

In fact it is technical. Of course, at first glance config files for rc
scripts and ini files are simple text files. But the structure, the way
how they are handled (sourced or parsed), etc. is pretty different.

And it's not only the ini thing. It's the whole possible move to making
Linux a lot more Windoze like what I'm afraid of.

The UNIX philosophy has worked for about 40 years and is totally tested
and approved. Systemd is not. Of course, new things don't need to be
bad and times are changing and sometimes there have to be made some
adjustments, but it's a question how those new things are designed. And
that's another point which I'm afraid of. I have tested PulseAudio and
I know who has written and designed it. And I know that it totally
doesn't work with a very few exceptions. And then I see that the same
person starts writing something else at the same time, which intervenes
even more into the system, even if the first software doesn't work
correctly. So what do you think, how this looks like? Do you really
think that this sounds trustworthy?

Added to this I read that there are Windoze like ini files again in
this second software of this person. Why do you think I have switched
from Windoze to Linux? Of course, it was not the ini files in the first
place. It was the whole terrible design and concept of Windoze incl.
the registry. I still always get fits of raving madness if I have to
work with Windoze, because I regularly need several hours for fixing
something which I had fixed within minutes in Linux because of those
simple and small config files and shell scripts (and because of the
UNIX philosophy). And I know Windoze pretty well, too.

Btw., I'm working with Computers since more than 25 years now and with
Linux exclusively more than 10 years. And I started with an Apple IIc
and a 8086 with PC-DOS 3.1, worked with several Windoze versions and I
know Linux since 1993. So I guess I know what I'm talking about.

In Linux I have/had some simple text files with which I can/could
configure the whole system, while I had a terrible, cryptic registry on
Windoze. In Linux I just can/could add a daemon to rc.conf to have it
run. From what I read so far about systemd in all those discussions, in
systemd I have to run a special command to have a daemon started at
boot time (which I additionally have to remember), I have to write such
an ini file instead of just writing or editing a simple and small
config file or shell script, then systemd creates some symlinks of
files into another directory whose name is also totally cryptic, at
least way to long. This is a total mess, if this is really true, and
it's absolutely a step towards a second Windoze.

You have explained some of the advantages of systemd. And this sounds
quite good, I admit. But I fear it's badly designed, at least
everything around those advantages.

And this all is technical.

> Yeah, we
> might agree that UNIX is great and Windows is bad. But in a technical
> argument, it is just annoying to point to "tradition" and "philosophy"
> rather than technical facts, regardless of what side of the argument
> you are on.

It's not really annoying. Well, yes, if there was no substance behind
it and if the tradition wasn't approved this well as it is in Linux and
UNIX. See above. The problem in such long discussions is, that it's
sometimes not possible or that people just don't have the time or the
nerves to explain all the arguments in detail.

But if there's such a long discussion and if there are so many
complains about a software or a change, then you can assume that
there's something going pretty wrong. Either this software or change
hasn't been explained good enough to the people (and just saying RTFM
is not enough in such cases) or the software is indeed not well enough
designed, which should probably be fixed. And, btw., I never ever have
read such long discussions and so many complains about a software like
about the software of Lennart Poettering (PulseAudio and systemd). I was
definitely not the only one who complained about it. And this must have
a reason. And you can't tell me, that all those people have too little

> If you claim that systemd does not follow the UNIX philosophy (I
> disagree, but whatever), and if you claim that anything not following
> the UNIX philosophy is bad (I disagree, but whatever), then you should
> be able to combine these two claims and point to a technical flaw or
> shortcomming in systemd without any reference to UNIX, or Windows, or
> KISS at all.

See above. I think, I don't need to search for links which explain the
UNIX philosophy.

> Personally, I get exasperated when people don't take the time to
> educate themselves before making broad and incorrect assertions. There
> is a huge amount of documentation, discussion and other sources of
> information about systemd available online. Moreover, there is the
> source-code, and even the packages in Arch one can try out. There
> really is no excuse.

Seriously, who reads source codes? Manpages usually only explain the
parameters, not the design of the software and how it works. There may
be some other documentations, I haven't yet seen any.

> I try not to be offensive, but sometimes my exasperation shows
> through I guess.

Now I know that you can explain things. So why not do it if you find
that someone doesn't know enough about what's talked about? Nobody
expects that you write a second documentation, but explaining some
details can sometimes help.


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