[arch-general] Alternative init system proposal

Christian Rebischke Chris.Rebischke at archlinux.org
Tue Feb 9 21:33:55 UTC 2016

Hello everone,
First of all I want to remind you that systemd is no longer an init system.
Systemd has become to be much more than just starting/stopping some daemons.
You must see systemd with every part. You cannot just strip systemd from
every package, ignore the other parts of systemd and run openRC. This will
not work. This is just one part..

the other part is: I don't think that the Arch Linux developers would be
happy if they would need to maintain an alternative init system like openRC.

Here are some reasons for it:

1. Maintaining:
The maintaining of systemd and another init-system would be a lot of double
work. We would need every package twice. One systemd version and one version
without systemd. Moreover some packages like netctl depend on systemd. You
cannot just repackage netctl without systemd. You would have to change the
codebase of netctl.

Moreover I think that the developer team has other work todo. For example I
would prefer to have full SELinux support this would be for me much more
important as another init system.

2. Arch Linux itself:
When I think about Arch Linux i must think about:
- rolling release
- a very fast release system. Upstream version == package version in the
  official repositories.

What does this mean? It means that I prefer a linux distribution that
supports the newest changes in the linux development. Systemd is one of
thesee changes. Systemd improves a lot of stuff. There is a reason why all
other big distribtions are also moving to systemd. It's the future. All the
shellscript-based init systems are the past. Also, with systemd comes a lot
of new cool stuff like cgroups, systemd-nspawn, networkd, logind and a lot

I really think that Arch Linux shouldn't be a rock in this flow of
development. We should do it like fedora and support it. We shouldn't help
to tube-fed all other init systems. 

Furthermore there will be (maybe) kdbus in the kernel. Kdbus is at the
moment still systemd only. I am sure there will come more systemd-specific
interfaces for the kernel. Kdbus is just one example.

3. The ISO and Arch Linux installation process
If Arch Linux would support openRC we would have to offer two ISOs. One with
systemd and one with openRC. Also the way of the installation process would
be different. We would need to edit all wikipages. I often hear that the
Arch Linux wiki is one of the best wikis for GNU/Linux. I think this would
change if we would have a second init system. We would have a lot of chaos.
And for what? Only for making 'some' people happy.

This is just my humble opinion,

best regards,


Christian Rebischke

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