[CentOS] OT: systemd Poll - So Long, and Thanks for All the fish.

Thu Apr 20 13:33:30 UTC 2017
James B. Byrne <byrnejb at harte-lyne.ca>

On Wed, April 19, 2017 16:22, Chris Murphy wrote:

> Apple has had massively disruptive changes on OS X and iOS. Windows
> has had a fairly disruptive set of changes in Windows 10. About the
> only things that don't change are industrial OS's.

I have no idea how this reference applies to my earlier post.  We do
not use Apple or Windows servers and the desktop environment is
stabilised at Win7pro.  There will be be no Windows 10 here ever.  OSX
/ iOS employment is limited to personal devices, none of which are
permitted on premise in any case.

> When it comes to breaking user space, there's explicit rules against
> that in Linux kernel development. And internally consistent API/ABI
> stability is something you're getting in CentOS/RHEL kernels, it's one
> of the points the distributions exist. But the idea that Windows and
> OS X have better overall API stability I think is untrue, having
> spoken to a very wide assortment of developers who build primarily
> user space apps.

This may be true.  It is likely important to software developers.  It
is also totally irrelevant to a business.

Businesses, other than software development houses and consultants,
are software users.  When a vendor massively rearranges things in
their software, deprecates scripting syntax that has existed for years
if not decades, and fundamentally changes the way the administration
of an operating system is presented it really matter not a wit to a
business that the internal kernel level api remains unchanged.  It is
the accumulated administrative experience that is lost in consequence
that concerns a business given that replacing that loss will cost
either directly in retraining or indirectly in error and resultant
disruption; or both.

> What does happen, in kernel ABI changes can break your driver, as
> there's no upstream promise for ABI compatibility within the kernel
> itself. The effect of this is very real on say, Android, and might be
> one of the reasons for Google's Fuscia project which puts most of the
> drivers, including video drivers, into user space. And Microsoft also
> rarely changes things in their kernel, so again drivers tend to not
> break.

And this illustrates the point that I attempting to make.  A business
owner assumes that whatever OS is used it will deal with the various
devices that make up its hardware environment. For if it does not then
they seek an OS that does.  However, vanishingly few firms in my
experience (i.e.NONE) have ever had operational programming staff
write or even modify a device driver.  A business is in existence to
make money for its owners not dick around with esoteric computer
theory and practice.

Red Hat, again in my sole opinion, increasingly appears to me to be
emulating another company notorious for shuffling the user interface
to little evident purpose other than profit.  That is good business
for them.  It is not good for us.

Bear in mind that we have been RedHat/Whitebox/CA-OS/CentOS users
since 1998 so it is not like we are moving away from Linux with
anything like enthusiasm. But this upgrade treadmill that has
developed within RH is simply too costly for us to bear any longer. 
The idea that one has to rebuild from scratch entire host systems and
then laboriously port over data and customised portions to a new host
simply to upgrade the underlying OS is absolutely ludicrous. Consider
the tremendous labour costs regularly incurred in accomplishing what
amounts to maintaining the status quo.

We just upgraded a FreeBSD host from 10.3 to 11.0 in situ without
problem; and with very little downtime (three reboots in the space of
30 minutes).  This was no standalone device either.  It was the OS
running the metal for multiple BHyve virtual machines, themselves
running various operating systems (but mainly FreeBSD-11).  One of
said vms being our Samba-4 AD-DC.  And, had it all gone south then,
given we use ZFS in FreeBSD, and that we snapshot regularly, getting
back to 10.3 would have been, and still could be, nearly

Think about what that would take in terms of man hours to accomplish
moving from EL6 to 7.  And moving from 5 to 6 was not much better. 
This is just too expensive to repeat every three years.

And allow me to forestall any claims that the chimera that is 'cloud
computing' is the answer. All that does is make creating the requisite
new platforms marginally less tedious. And that small advantage is
purchased at the cost of handling over control of all your data to
entities who are thoroughly discredited with respect to security and

I am not anti or pro systemd, upstart, or etc/rc (or any other
software although I admit to holding a generally dim view of things
from Redmond).  I do not really care what is used so long as it works
and that introducing it does not greatly diminish the value of
existing user skills and knowledge.  However, I am past the point of
patience with gratuitous changes that offer no appreciable benefit to
the parties tasked with dealing them.  Systemd is not the problem.  It
is a symptom of a deeper malaise, indifference.

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James B. Byrne                mailto:ByrneJB at Harte-Lyne.ca
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