Open-source devs vote down anti-systemd measure, sponsor steps down

Ian Jackson resigns from technical committee after measure to slow systemd adoption fails.

Debian developers voted down a proposal that would have weakened the Linux distribution’s integration with a controversial system software package on Tuesday, in a victory for systemd supporters.

The proposal, promulgated by former Debian project leader Ian Jackson, called for all Debian software to be effectively init-system-agnostic – the aim being to limit just how tightly bound to and dependent upon systemd Debian could become.

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In the wake of the proposal’s failure, Jackson stepped down from his role on the project’s governing technical committee, saying that he had become “too controversial” to continue as the face of the opposition to systemd.

“The majority of the project have voted to say that it was wrong of me to bring this general resolution at this time,” he wrote in a mailing list message. “Despite everything that's happened, I respectfully disagree. I hope that the next time a controversial issue arises, someone will step forward to advance what might be a minority view.”

Former Debian project leader Ian Jackson

Jackson joins a growing list of prominent people from both the pro- and anti-systemd to publicly step back from Debian in recent weeks. He’s the third member of the technical committee to go, following Russ Allbery, who made his announcement on Sunday, and Colin Watson, who stepped down earlier this month.

When contacted by Network World, Jackson highlighted the fact that between 30% and 40% of Debian developers who voted on the resolution were in favor of his proposal.

“That means that there is quite a bit of technical effort available for countering lock-in by working to eliminate systemd dependencies,” he said. “So in practice I expect future Debian releases to continue to have good support for non-systemd init systems.”

Jackson sounded an upbeat note, as well, saying that the vote should draw a line under a large part of the systemd saga and that the community has an opportunity to move on from an acrimonious argument.

“Debian has had big disagreements before and we will survive this one too,” he said.

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