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Init system support in Debian

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The "systemd question" has roiled Debian multiple times over the years, but things had mostly been quiet on that front of late. The Devuan distribution is a Debian derivative that has removed systemd; many of the vocal anti-systemd Debian developers have switched, which helps reduce the friction on the Debian mailing lists. But that seems to have led to support for init system alternatives (and System V init in particular) to bitrot in Debian. There are signs that a bit of reconciliation between Debian and Devuan will help fix that problem.

The Devuan split was acrimonious, much like the systemd "debate" that preceded it. Many bits were expended in describing the new distribution as a waste of time (or worse), while the loudest Devuan proponents declared that systemd would cause the end of Debian and Linux as a whole. Over time, that acrimony has mostly been reduced to random potshots (on both sides); there is clearly no love lost between the pro and anti sides (whether those apply to systemd, Devuan, or both). Some recent developments have shown that perhaps a bit of thawing in relations is underway—that can only be a good thing for both sides and the community as a whole.

Holger Levsen alerted the debian-devel mailing list that the Debian "Buster" (i.e. Debian 10) release was in danger of shipping with only partial support for running without systemd. The problem is that two packages needed for running with System V init (sysvinit-core and systemd-shim) are not really being maintained. The shim is completely unmaintained and sysvinit-core has been languishing even though it has two maintainers listed.

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today's howtos

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