Re: The "Unix Philosophy 2020" document

From: Casper Ti. Vector <>
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2019 01:37:43 +0800

(I guess discussions about this document is probably destined to be
off-topic on the skaware list, so further public mail in this thread
will only be posted to the supervision list; sorry for the disturbance.)

On Fri, Sep 27, 2019 at 04:38:16PM +0800, Casper Ti. Vector wrote:
> Although the contents of the document are quite related to our mailing
> lists, I do not think Laurent (by the way, I am sorry he might really
> disagree with me on many points in the third part) would like to see too
> much off-topic discussion on these lists. So please send comments to me
> via private mail or GitLab/GitHub issues if they are unrelated to
> supervision/skaware; I will be especially interested in comments about:

I received comments and suggestions from multiple people, and would like
to express my sincere gratitude to these people. Most of the issues
involved either are quickly resolvable, or require more time to address
but do not affect the main ideas expressed. However, there is one issue
that I definitely need to ask for your suggestions on to resolve, and
the issue is about systemd: multiple people told me that they felt
uncomfortable about the recurring (but each time on a different aspect,
obviously) examples about systemd.

Before asking specifically for what I need, please allow me to briefly
explain why the document is in its current shape. As can be seen from
the Afterword and Footnote 44 (as of v0.1.1), this document originated
from my reaction to the systemd fiasco; and as can be inferred from
Section 11, I find it impossible to discuss UP2020 without major
involvement with systemd. So I already intended to blame systemd when
the document only existed in my imagination, and this intention is not
unjustified; but once systemd is involved, any argument must be backed
with enough evidences, hence the current shape of the document.

However, people told me that the document is not quite accessible to
those who know really little about systemd: one example is they do not
even know much about how the modules are organised in systemd, so the
claim that the systemd architecture has how cohesion and high coupling
may seem unfounded; because of this, I request your recommendation for
an accessible and not-too-boastful introduction to systemd suitable for
citation in the document. Additionally, although there do not yet seem
to be other major technical faults in the recurring systemd examples,
they might really appear unpleasant for some readers, so I also request
your advices on how to reduce the "rantiness" of the document (eg. how
certain parts can be rephrased, or certain inessential examples be
removed/replaced) without harming its technical correctness.

A point to note is that I tried to choose a small yet most touted subset
of systemd features, and then to analyse how these features can be done
using s6 and friends, which I find a most efficient way to understand
their nature. From what I know, there have been few systematic analyses
of systemd from the viewpoint of the daemontools-ish design, so I
believe that these technical arguments, in combination with UP2020, can
be much more convincing than other arguments available in showing why
systemd is bad. Consequently I think that, with an appropriate amount
of publicity for the document, much more people would be willing
to keep an eye on, migrate to, or even help develop daemontools-ish
systems, potentially creating a mini-avalanche effect or even resulting
in a turning point in the "init wars". However, the influx of people
into our circle will also result in a lot of noise (especially the noise
from some ill-intentioned systemd proponents) and a lot of additional
technical workload, so I request Laurent for a decision on whether to
publicise the document; and provided he agrees, I request you to help
spread it to appropriate places.

My current OpenPGP key:
RSA4096/0x227E8CAAB7AA186C (expires: 2020.10.19)
7077 7781 B859 5166 AE07 0286 227E 8CAA B7AA 186C
Received on Sat Oct 12 2019 - 17:37:43 UTC

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