[arch-general] systemd new dependencies impede using OpenRC

Daniel Micay danielmicay at gmail.com
Thu Jul 2 13:24:42 UTC 2015

On 01/07/15 02:36 PM, João Miguel wrote:
> First of all, thank you for such a quick reply.
> Now, I don't want to preach. But I will not pretend I chose Arch Linux at
> random. I chose it for many reasons, an important one of them being that
> I liked the Arch Way, it made sense to me, and it seemed you were
> following it. Now it seems to belong to a forgotten past.
> On Wed, Jul 01, 2015 at 10:34:01AM -0400, Daniel Micay wrote:
>> Arch is as much a systemd-based distribution as it is a Pacman-based
>> distribution at this point. (...)
> Is it now? https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/The_Arch_Way

That's an unprotected page on the wiki, not an authoritative source on
anything to do with the distribution.

Arch has always been a simple distribution in terms of the developer
perspective, not the user one. Using systemd made it simpler than ever
in that regard because much more work is taken care of by both the
systemd developers and all of the projects shipping unit files.

It has never been a minimalist distribution. Splitting packages is rare
compared to other distributions, and dependencies aren't made optional
whenever possible.

It has also never been a distribution offering much user freedom /
choice compared to Gentoo and even Debian. There are very few cases
where there are multiple packages offering different configurations of
the same project. There's no equivalent to update-alternatives or the
comparable uses of USE flags. Changing /bin/sh from Bash will be broken,
as will changing the python symlink to point to python2 instead of
python3 even though this works on some other distributions. It doesn't
strive to offer choices like this, and never has. It would mean a *lot*
more complexity on the development side of things along with major
deviations from upstream.

Arch is the *opposite* of a user-centric freedom. The opinion of users
has no weight here. Only the developers have an opinion, and there
aren't voting systems as there are in Debian. Technical decisions are
made based on merit via consensus among the developers, not popularity.

> it is not simple, not minimalist, and not user-centric.

Certainly not minimalist, but those other two claims are questionable.

Arch has *never* been minimalist... a Linux kernel with every module
available and every feature enabled at least when there's no non-bloat
related cost, feature-packed/complex GNU tools, nearly all optional
features enabled across all the packages, etc.

> However, making so many packages depend on it so that any basic desktop
> usage (in the case of the util-linux dependency, even non-graphical usage)
> does break one principle listed in the aforementioned page: freedom. In
> fact, I ought to quote it:

Arch is the opposite of a distribution with lots of user freedom. Users
will come and go based on whether they like the technical decisions made
by the developers. The popularily of those decisions has no impact on
how things are done, regardless of how vocal users are about it.

> Nonetheless, respecting the quoted principle, I could easily replace
> systemd by OpenRC when I chose to. Note that just last month, over 3
> years had passed after systemd was adopted, and I could still use
> OpenRC. Now, for whatever reason, the principle was broken without
> notice. I'd expect news or an email in this mailing list, to which I've
> been paying close attention (though I knew less than the authors about
> most problems...).

You can still use it, it's just becoming increasing more difficult at a
pretty steady pace. Those packages didn't suddenly pick up systemd
dependencies in the past few weeks / months anyway. The version control
logs disprove the claim that there are many recent changes.

>> Upstreams are integrating support for systemd features and Arch is going
>> to be enabling them, whether it's sd_notify support or something else.
> Upstream? Then why is it that for the same versions of the same
> packages, say, in Gentoo they are not dependencies? Example, compare
> these two:

Gentoo has USE flags so features can be optional at compile-time. Many
of the packages with dependencies on systemd in Arch link against
libsystemd, and we don't split up the package as is the norm here. If
there's a package with an *unnecessary* dependency on systemd, you can
and should file a bug. I don't think there are many that depend on it
and don't use it.

> That doesn't mean I want to compile everything. Or that you should have
> packages for, say, OpenRC. The packages in the repos are not my choice,
> I'm not asking to choose which ones should be on the official repos,
> that's what the unofficial repos and the AUR are for. It just means you
> shouldn't suppose people have these or those packages installed, but
> that instead, and as you did before, even years after systemd being
> default, you should provide whatever you want, open the doors you want,
> not closing any others. Minimalism means minimal dependencies too.

> If I wanted systemd bloat and a dash of hypocrisy

What hypocrisy? When have you seen the developers state that they care
about user freedom, or that the distribution is based on minimalism?

Community memes don't define the distribution, technical choices by the
developers do. It's clearly not based on what you say it is, and *never*
has been. It has always used significantly more disk space and a
measurable amount of additional memory than Debian and especially Gentoo
as a consequence of keeping things simple (again, from a development

 I'd stay in Windows
> installing Internet Explorer... I worry the suggestions to change distro
> The point is not one of telling what the devs should
> or shouldn't do

That's what you're doing.

> but of remembering the principles upon which the community is based.

You can claim that the community is based on a set of principles, but it
has nothing to do with technical decisions by the developers. Memes
about minimalism and user freedom != actual distribution policy /
principles / history.

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 819 bytes
Desc: OpenPGP digital signature
URL: <https://lists.archlinux.org/pipermail/arch-general/attachments/20150702/91eece3b/attachment.asc>

More information about the arch-general mailing list