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Top Ten Things Linux Users Say About systemd

Back about four or five years ago, when FOSS Force was just a young whippersnapper yelling to be heard, we found people first noticing us when we dreamed up a unique weekly feature we cleverly called the Top Ten List. It was an immediate success. Unfortunately, we can’t claim credit for originating the concept, as Michael J. Fox saw one of our lists on his DeLorean’s dashboard computer while on a foray into the twenty-first century, and told someone at NBC when back home in the eighties, who told David Letterman. We lost out when Letterman used it on his show and took credit for it — even though it was our idea years later in the first place. Thanks, David.

Until now, we thought the days of the Top Ten on FOSS Force were long gone. However, the systemd brouhaha has awakened the inner Top Ten List that has been sleeping within us for all these years. Today, for one day only, the Top Ten List returns for one last encore — or the last one until the next time something tickles us funny.

Ladies and gentlemen, from the home office in Omaha, Nebraska, here is this week’s Top Ten List — the top ten things Linux users say about systemd.

10. Shouldn’t that be capitalized?

9. It can’t be very good if all it got was a D.

8. I think that’s some kind of thing that Microsoft hangs on their servers.

7. We developers know what’s best.

6. systemd? Where’s my gun?

5. Will I still be able to watch Netflix?

4. Not nearly educated enough on the issue to make an informed assessment currently.

3. I don’t know nothing but I know what’s best and systemd ain’t it.

2. systemd? systemd? We don’t need no stinking systemd.

1. Things were going kinda good around here until you brought that systemd to the party.


  1. Roy Roy January 24, 2015

    I’ll go for No.4 🙂

  2. Scott Dowdle Scott Dowdle January 24, 2015

    0. systemd is like digital bacon… Mmmmmm.

  3. Larry Cafiero Larry Cafiero January 24, 2015

    Good list, Christine. Good addition, Scott.

  4. John Lauro John Lauro January 24, 2015

    Fixed a few:
    8. Makes your server run and crash like Windows.
    7. We developers know what’s best, not those developers.

    0. Trust us, systemd is good for you, unlike the digital bacon you have been eating for the last 25 years.

    Several others could use rewrites too.

  5. Christine Hall Christine Hall January 24, 2015

    @Roy You would be in good company with your choice. That’s what Jeff Hoogland from Bodhi very diplomatically said to me when I asked him where he weighed in on systemd.

  6. freelikegnu freelikegnu January 24, 2015

    4.2 It’s gonna break all the Ubuntu server running upstart!
    2.1 SourceForge is going to crash!
    1.1 will this work on my playstation3?
    9.9 dynamic logs in OpenWRT?

  7. freelikegnu freelikegnu January 24, 2015

    .9 Will this push Steam machine back?

  8. Ed Tomlinson Ed Tomlinson January 24, 2015

    Arch switched to systemd a year ago. About a month after I bit the bullet and updated.

    I’ve been using Linux for 16+ years. Its easy to bitch about changes and systemd is a big one. After a year my gut is that, warts and all, it really was an improvement.


  9. Robert Pogson Robert Pogson January 24, 2015

    Ed Tomlinson, ” it really was an improvement.”

    I have it on several systems here and it sort of worked for the routine desktop PC but on my main Beast, it’s a crock. I run several servers and databases on my main PC. It has a lot of RAM, multiple drives and 4 cores. Why not? Now, something supposed to make booting faster slows it down. Every server and database gets priority over my use of my desktop…. It takes twice as long to get a usable desktop. I don’t want to require my servers to be up before X any more than I require every website on the planet to be up. After many hours trying to configure around that, I gave up and went back to sysvinit as best I can. I can’t get rid of all the dependencies on systemd in Debian Jessie. I’ve tried. I will give them a couple years to get the bugs out and then I will move to a distro without systemd or systemd will stay out of my way.

  10. Stallman's Beard Stallman's Beard January 25, 2015

    The answer is 5. Will I still be able to watch Netflix?
    Because that’s what a ‘user’ would care.

    Too many developers and writers seems to be thinking that THEY are representative of the computer user when they are in fact a tiny, tiny group who are uber interested in the inner working of the GNU-Linux ecosystem.
    Most people I know who use Windows would never be able to install Windows again. Just like most people Ive installed Linux for probably wouldnt be able to do it too.
    THAT is the average computer user, a consumer of electronic goods who only cares that it works and does the thing it supposed to.
    If were saying that Linux users are all people who know what systemd is, then we might as well give up on our various desktops.
    If youve installed Linux on your parents, sisters, inlaws or other friends and family members computers, ask yourself which one of them would even know what systemd is (heck, I cant think of one on my side who would even know what a kernel is.)

    So no, systemd is NOT something we should expect a Linux user to know or care about just like we dont expect a Mac user to know about its Mach kernel.

  11. jsalpha2 jsalpha2 January 25, 2015

    I can’t help but reading as System MD.

  12. Marty McFly Marty McFly January 25, 2015

    Top Ten? I’ve counted only A! Oh, wait, I’m at the wrong time again, am I? Sorry, since they’ve installed SystemD my DeLorean is acting weird sometimes. But I CAN’T complain, Red Hat is great, and Lennart their developer! At last an init system has full control over my computer! Only sometimes I wish I’ve had full control over this init system… But I know, they know much better what’s best for me. See ya in the future!

  13. Anonymous Coward Anonymous Coward January 25, 2015

    I only run GNU/Linux on my computing systems, which include several servers as well as desktops and laptops. All of them run distros that include systemd. I have had nearly zero problems.

    There’s a learning curve for systemd administration. However, once I started to dig in and break a few things, I’ve grown to not only appreciate systemd – but to enjoy using it and depend on its feature set.

    I’ve found Arch Linux’s documentation to be a real lifesaver. And, of course, Red Hat Enterprise documentation is mostly complete. However, I find Arch is easier to navigate.

  14. Scarlett Johannas Scarlett Johannas January 25, 2015

    Daily reminder that systemd is FOSS software and that it is good software that caters to the needs of modern devops, sysadmins,regular users and application developers. Since work on systemd restarted again in 2010 and its initial inclusion in Fedora in January 2011 it has gathered over 500 contributors of code and has become default in all major distros since 2012 and has devs from each major distro with commit access who have helped shape systemd the past 4 years.

    Unfortunately as usual for the past 15 years since Linux gained major traction and contributions the bitter and violent *BSD cancerous userbase continue to try and cripple GNU/Linux, they leach off of all the GPL work done by Linux developers and spit in the face of them, insult GPL, and threaten violence and rape of GNU/Linux users and developers.
    GNU/Linux depending on systemd is worse than anything so far for anti-linux *BSD lunatics, if applications make use of the way systemd exposes Linux-specific kernel features then *BSD ports/repositories suddenly start to become very empty because all the work is done by GNU/Linux users and developers.
    BSD ports (ports means ported, leached, stolen packages) starts to empty or become filled with even more insecure, outdated and broken packages. This would not be the case if *BSD losers were not lazy hypocrites, but these cancerous excuses for human life cannot code and instead try to poison and cripple GNU/Linux out of jealousy by means of delusional social and philosophical engineering (much like how scientology cons people out of their money).

    There are also thought to be many of these people on the payroll of Microsoft to try and destroy strong powerful FOSS projects by negative campaigning and lie/FUD spreading. Fortunately as usual for Microsoft their FUD campaign and paid shills turn up 4 years too late and don’t have technical arguments, making it obvious what they are: paid trolls.

  15. AC AC January 25, 2015

    What could possibly be bad about a ridiculously complex piece of critical software that is poorly designed, badly implemented, and essentially untested?

  16. Eddie G. Eddie G. January 25, 2015

    As far as I can tell, (since I’m not a developer, programmer, or even a fully-vetted Linux Admin!) systemd is only a pain in the rear for those who want/need ultimate control of their OS. I only need for my Linux machines to WORK! I don’y really care HOW they work….only that they DO! (I sometimes contract myself out to type up papers for companies who need something typed up and duplicated to their entire organization!) and for me to go tinker with systemd just because I can would be stoopid. SO I won’t curse systemd, because so far? it’s not bothered me in any way. And I know there will be those who have to milk every ounce of speed from their machines, or who want to control every aspect of their machine, and systemd somehow prevents this from happening…but like somone already stated, the “average” PC user just wants it to work for them when they need it.

  17. Mike Mike January 25, 2015

    systemd – Let’s make Linux work like Windows!

    Now you too can have unpredictable boot ups, where services mysteriously fail and suffer random delays before anything will work or allow input!

    Are you jealous of how millions of Windows users get to reboot after every update? Well worry no longer, systemd makes almost every update an enjoyable rebooting experience where you can excitedly wait and watch to see if your machine even manages to make it back to a login prompt!

    — systemd — It just works! (Until it doesn’t)

  18. SeventhReign SeventhReign January 26, 2015

    Top 10 things that people actually MEAN when they talk about System D

    10. I have absolutely no idea wtf I am talking about.
    9. I have absolutely no idea wtf I am talking about.
    8. I have absolutely no idea wtf I am talking about.
    7. I have absolutely no idea wtf I am talking about.
    6. I have absolutely no idea wtf I am talking about.
    5. I have absolutely no idea wtf I am talking about.
    4. I have absolutely no idea wtf I am talking about.
    3. I have absolutely no idea wtf I am talking about.
    2. I have absolutely no idea wtf I am talking about.
    1. I have absolutely no idea wtf I am talking about.

  19. jbernardo jbernardo January 26, 2015

    I’ll go with 1.
    Systemd – that thing that has caused most issues I had with arch these 2,5 years. That init system that this saturday refused to boot because for some reason it wanted to mount a ext4 partition as btrfs (even if mounting it by hand worked). That thing that needs a second linux install with systemd to be able to read the logs when it won’t boot. That thing that would prevent my system from shutting down, not only waiting by waiting forever on something, but also by disabling sysreq because its developers thought it should not be used. That thing that corrupted logs every time it failed to shutdown, not giving any clue why it wouldn’t shutdown. I am so glad I finally left arch linux…

  20. JasonLG1979 JasonLG1979 January 26, 2015

    @Robert Pogson –
    You can delay the start of any service/program in systemd using timers. It’s not hard to set whatever you want to start after your desktop loads.

  21. crb3 crb3 January 26, 2015

    11: mission creep by a mission creep.

  22. JB JB January 26, 2015

    systemd, developed by the same person who created PulseAudio. What could go wrong?

    (j/k, my only complaint is the sudden leap into systemd, instead of designing it for a comfortable transition that would make the change easier for sysadmins)

  23. Sid Boyce Sid Boyce January 27, 2015

    I started in Linux from the first kernel Linus put up for ftp so I have seen all the changes. Linux keeps evolving, even the days when we had to use a ruler and a calculator to work out the modelines in X are long behind us, the kaffuffle around glibc6, X11R6 vs Xorg and many others.
    I have seen all the spats that occasionally flare up around some change or other and the current one around systemd is much in the same vane.
    Typically it all goes silent and the new changes become mainstream.
    I predict systemd to go the same way when the rear end skirmishes fade away.
    I have 10 boxes running and systemd has been no problem after initially familiarizing myself with it.

  24. ksovi ksovi January 27, 2015

    I hate the binary logs that’s why I am using syslog instead.

  25. Lib Lib February 22, 2015

    Lately, I tend to use one of the methods of sySTEmd fanboys, saying the same thing again and again, so here it is :

    We need to evolve the way we see things

    Yes we do.
    We also need to progress in our way to talk about them.

    There’s one barebone distro becoming bigger and bigger, this distro is the Gnome-Systemd Linux (let’s call it RHGSDL) and it has quite a lot of derivatives which will become more and more similar : RHEL, Fedora, Debian, Arch, Opensuse, Mandriva …

    The core idea of this distro is that, to ‘fix’ linux, the whole system must rely on a unique process which control every other thing and that package/software dev/maintainers will work for that distro only (by making all their softwares/packages dependent of SystemD). The devs of systemD think that most will do that because it’s ‘easier’ than to work for themselves and the whole community with other distros.
    Maybe they are right to rely on lazyness and selfishness of those who make the strengh and diversity of GNU/Linux but, on the other hand, those who chose to give their time and skills in a free softwares unpaid work have maybe other higher motivations. Time will tell.

    Time will tell also if the technical choices, and, among them, a single point of failure were good for this distro. Also their political choices. Some of the derivatives force SYSTEMd as default and do just not support alternatives, some are pretending to support alternatives while, by playing with recursive (sometimes ‘forged’) dependencies and compatibility break, they make it installed quite silently with other packages and almost mandatory once it’s installed. And they are the first distro who openly wants to either eat or destroy any other distro by orphaning them and systematically casting a slur/talking down/dissing anyone who legitimatly criticises SYStemd.

    Still, RHGSDL is only a distro and we need to help and support the others who want to offer the choice to their users. I mean : LFS, Gentoo, Slackware, PCLinuxOS, Refracta, Crux, GNU Guix, Kali Linux, Sorcerer, Source Mage, Void Linux, Plop Linux, Pisi Linux, Bedrock Linux, GoboLinux, 0Linux, 4MLinux, Puppy Linux, Tiny Core… (plus LSD Linux, Trios and Devuan, if they ever become real forks) and all their derivatives.
    There are also other kernels and, in particular, BSD. FreeBSD/PC-BSD/MidnightBSD seem to be quite good to give it a try without knowing much of it.

    Now, there’s something I would like to say to the sysTEMd fanboys.
    You say that it ‘fixes’ Linux, it handle things ‘better’, it is the only way to use the ‘newer’ functionalities, it is ‘needed’, it is ‘The Future’, it is ‘The Progress’, there’s ‘no alternatives’, no-one is able to develop alternatives following the ‘awesome development speed’ of it, others “do not respect the LSB” when sysTemd does, others “do follow stupidly the LSB” when systeMd do correct it, the users and devs who don’t think alike are just idiots or know nothing, the unix philosophy is obsolete, those who don’t follow you are of no interest etc.
    If you’re right, then the linux kernel is not able to suit your desires and -fortunately- it doesn’t depend on SyStEmD yet. If you believe in what you’re saying, the Unix way and the linux community doesn’t suit your needs.
    Then, the best way for you, SysTemD dev and al., is to take a break with the linux world, make your own kernel, going along with your system, and your own community, according with your philosophy, and it will be really easy for you as you are the ones ‘who know and do better’. You do not need, previously, to waste GNU/linux and our time.

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