Debian technical committee votes for systemd over Upstart

Debian technical committee was discussing the default init system for Debian and it boiled down to basically systemd, which is developed by the larger free software community (lead by Lennart Poettering), and Upstart which was developed by Canonical employees.

Systemd has become the preferred choice of all major GNU/Linux desktop operating systems. However what Debian goes with impacts Ubuntu, which is based on Debian. Ubuntu uses Upstart and Ubuntu developer at Debian’s TC were, for obvious and appropriate reasons, pushing for Upstart.

Bdale Garbee,chairman of the Debian Technical Committee, called for a ballot from the TC to chose the default init system. He wrote on the mailing list:

We exercise our power to decide in cases of overlapping jurisdiction (6.1.2) by asserting that the default init system for Linux architectures in jessie should be

D systemd
U upstart
O openrc
V sysvinit (no change)
F requires further discussion

Should the project pass a General Resolution before the release of “jessie” asserting a “position statement about issues of the day” on init systems, that position replaces the outcome of this vote and is adopted by the Technical Committee as its own decision.

The votes are in and systemd seems to be the clear winner here.

Bdale himself voted for systemd.

The discussion continues but it looks like systemd will be the default init system for Debian. Is it going to effect Ubuntu or it’s derivatives like Linux Mint of Kubuntu – we will see when those projects will speak out.

Most developers are against Canonical’s Upstart for technical as well as legal reasons – Canonical requires developers to sign it’s CLAs in order to contribute to it’s code-base. Lead Open Source developers have repeatedly raised their concerns regarding Canonical’s CLAs.

Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel, says, “To be fair, people just like hating on Canonical. The FSF and Apache Foundation CLA’s are pretty much equally broken. And they may not be broken because of any relicencing, but because the copyright assignment paperwork ends up basically killing the community. Basically, with a CLA, you don’t get the kind of “long tail” that the kernel has of random drive-by patches. And since that’s how lots of people try the waters, any CLA at all – changing the license or not – is fundamentally broken.”

About Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

9 thoughts on “Debian technical committee votes for systemd over Upstart

  1. about CLA. linus is right, all CLA are a fucking shit the Canonical’s CLA is just one of them but it shows something, egoism. developers do not want to give their right on the code for free to companies, that is why GPL overtake BSD license

  2. It seem to me to be a bit disingenuous to state, “systemd, which is developed by
    the larger free software community (lead by Lennart Poettering), and
    Upstart which was developed by Canonical employees.” It would seem to
    be to me more honest to say, “systemd, which is largely developed by Red
    Hat employees (lead by Lennart Poettering), and Upstart which was developed by Canonical employees.” In this debate / discussion, let’s at least call it what it is. Lennart Poettering is a Red Hat, Inc. employee and this development is done in the course and scope of his employment. No disrespect for anyone’s work or efforts is intended, just full disclosure is needed in a discussion like this.

    1. Systemd has much more contributors from outside Red Hat than upstarts does from outside Canonical. The Free software community and other companies are much more willing to contribute to a project in equal terms and righs (no CLA) than to upstart, which has stagnated and even OpenRC will surpass in features.

    2. You can nit-pick all you want but at the end of the day systemd has much more contributers and a larger community. It seems to me to be a bit disingenuous to try to make an issue over the development of systemd when it boils down to the fact that like mir many developers don’t want anything to do with canonicals CLA and therefore upstart will never enjoy the privilege of a larger community base that comes with FOSS. One of the nice things about using a project that Red Hat uses is the fact that they contribute a lot and don’t offload all the work like Canonical. Even if Debian does choose upstart many will choose not to contribute to it and it may still be abandoned. As for discloser Upstart is a defunct project and needs Debian’s resources to continue unlike systemd.

      1. Friends, all I am saying is that in this discussion, the fact that Lennart Poettering works for Red Hat needs to be mentioned (it was not in the article.) Until I brought it up in the comments, a reader who was not already aware of it would not know this. This is basically Red Hat vs. Canonical (in such cases Red Hat usually wins.) I am not arguing the technical merits of either one. I have used upstart but have never used systemd. Are there any backward compatibility concerns to switching to systemd (from sysvinit)? I understand the CLA concerns and wish that Canonical would stop that.

  3. Yeah but notice that Red Hat is always the one that contributes the code, and Ubuntu takes the code. It is rare to see Ubuntu giving anything away. Red Hat has furthered the Linux Kernel further than any one other entity. So all y’all need to keep that in mind when you’re trash talking Red Hat. Linux would still be years away from what it is without them FUNDING your ass!

    1. Canonical Developers have also done a lot on kernel , though not much like Redhat I agree. But Canonical’s contribution to linux DESKTOP maturization and penetration among end-users has furthered the linux much much more than any other entity. Without that Redhat would have kept the kernel up its own ASS, and nobody in the desktop space would have bothered about linux as an actual desktop OS.

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