More `systemd` ... `homed`?

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More `systemd` ... `homed`?

Joel Maxwell
Hi all, hope you are managing well with shelter-in-place.

I encountered an article today, and I hope to refrain from strong
reactions while I add a few thoughts below.
https://www.techrepublic.com/article/linux-home-directory-management-is-about-to-undergo-major-change/

I'll start by agreeing that `systemd` has benefit - maybe not well seen
from free software enthusiasts, however since the big drive for Linux
(and the userspace that follows) comes from the enterprise, `systemd`
has seen a lot of acceptance for being a "one stop shop" for server
configuration, monitoring, and problem solving.

Journalist Bryan Lunduke has joked about `systemd` for violating the
UNIX philosophy "do one thing and do it well" as it becomes much more
than an initialization daemon. Although, I would counter that argument
with the existence of `Emacs` (the editor that does everything but be
an editor). ;^)

Anyway, I am rather divided with this new component, `homed`. Seems
like there is great potential for fine-tuned permissions for a large
mount-point (ala MS Active Directory) - nested group memberships, for
example, in this:

> That record will contain all user information such as username, group
membership, and password hashes.

It's not really useful outside of large organizations however. Even in
the mid-scale, if you want UID's to be consistent across multiple
systems and not use a particular product, it seems a bit trivial to
devote one system for all new users and have scripts to reserve that
username to the same UID across the rest. For individuals, there are no
concerns even present since most of us would just be using UID 1000
across several computers anyway.

> So, for the simple act of logging in, three mechanisms are required
(systemd, /etc/shadow, /etc/passwd). This is inefficient, and
Poettering has decided to make a drastic change.

If two files and a daemon is inefficient, the proposed replacement by
using a JSON file, a greater selection of tools to manage that JSON
file, and a daemon (or two?) for the bulk of end-users likens to a Rube
Goldberg machine.

I feel there is some consideration lacking in this (aside from how key-
based remote access will be broken with the current re-implementation),
and while I don't want to see a huge split in system initialization for
the enterprise from closer-to-bare installs (because the latter will
likely be neglected), the wheel seems to be re-invented significantly
enough where you "try to buy an FM radio but the only options are all-
in-one entertainment centres with the first year of a Spotify
subscription bundled in for no added cost".

I can only imagine the most agreeable middle ground is to split
`systemd` into their components - since right now it appears while it
is made up of several packages, those packages are heavily inter-
dependent. Having the ability to use some `systemd` components (init,
journald) but not others (logind, homed) - be it through a clean
replacement or shim+legacy - it should provide more choice in the
matter than the current all (`systemd` ecosystem) or nothing
(`SysV`+legacy) approach.

--
Regards,
Joel Maxwell

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Re: More `systemd` ... `homed`?

Douglas Guptill
On Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 11:44:04PM -0300, Joel Maxwell wrote:

> I encountered an article today, and I hope to refrain from strong
> reactions while I add a few thoughts below.
> https://www.techrepublic.com/article/linux-home-directory-management-is-about-to-undergo-major-change/
>

I was a big fan of Debian until systemd hit.  Took a brief look at
Devuan, and decided it was not for me.  Debian packages are (for me) a
real pain to create. Three years ago, I switched to Slackware, and
haven't looked back.

My $0.02,
Douglas.

Douglas Guptill, B.Sc., CCP, M.Comp.Sci., THM
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Re: More `systemd` ... `homed`?

Rory-9
In reply to this post by Joel Maxwell
I have similar feelings about systemd. It has some uses, especially in
enterprises and in some application development architectures where
Linux is used to host higher-level execution environments (i.e. Docker,
k8s, etc).

However, I strongly dislike its opacity and the trend for it to gobble
up everything about the init and runtime environment. More and more
it's taking over networking, firewall and so forth. All 'problems' that
didn't need to be solved, IMO. It's part of what I've termed a bit of a
cancer in the GNU/Linux world: everything has to be a swiss army knife
of complexity and functions. I was much happier with the old UNIX ethos
of "do one thing and do it well". The Linux way is becoming a squeeze
everyone into the same sized box ethos.

An now homed. This is an even more extreme case of a problem that
didn't need to be fixed. At all. If major distros adopt this as the
default for user home directories it might be the last straw for me and
send me running back to the BSD world.

On Thu, 2020-04-30 at 23:44 -0300, Joel Maxwell wrote:
> Hi all, hope you are managing well with shelter-in-place.
>
> I encountered an article today, and I hope to refrain from strong
> reactions while I add a few thoughts below.
> https://www.techrepublic.com/article/linux-home-directory-management-is-about-to-undergo-major-change/
>
>

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Devuan anyone? [Was:Re: More `systemd` ... `homed`?]

Jack Warkentin-2
Hi Everybody

Thanks, Joel, for starting off this thread. And Rory, I like your
comparison to systemd as a cancer.

I know very little about systemd. But, there were a couple of very
simple admin tasks that each would have required about 5 minutes for me
to perform with SysV that I couldn't do with systemd, without days of
heavy documentation reading.

Systemd seems to be useful in large system environments, but for the
home user without experience in such environments, I find it's the pits.
There is far too steep a learning curve required for home users to
achieve whatever benefits it might have for them. And homed sounds like
adding insult to injury.

At present I am using a "hybrid" Debian/Devuan system. I discovered how
to install Debian/Buster without systemd but couldn't find a desktop
environment solely within Debian that suited me. So I added Devuan to
the start of my sources.list file and installed Xfce, plus some other
programs whose Debian version depended on systemd. This system works
just fine at present, but I have no idea how I could do a dist upgrade
with it. I expect when that time comes that I will switch completely to
Devuan.

Has anybody on the list any experience with Devuan? I would be
interested in other users pros and cons.

Regards

Jack

Rory wrote:

> I have similar feelings about systemd. It has some uses, especially in
> enterprises and in some application development architectures where
> Linux is used to host higher-level execution environments (i.e. Docker,
> k8s, etc).
>
> However, I strongly dislike its opacity and the trend for it to gobble
> up everything about the init and runtime environment. More and more
> it's taking over networking, firewall and so forth. All 'problems' that
> didn't need to be solved, IMO. It's part of what I've termed a bit of a
> cancer in the GNU/Linux world: everything has to be a swiss army knife
> of complexity and functions. I was much happier with the old UNIX ethos
> of "do one thing and do it well". The Linux way is becoming a squeeze
> everyone into the same sized box ethos.
>
> An now homed. This is an even more extreme case of a problem that
> didn't need to be fixed. At all. If major distros adopt this as the
> default for user home directories it might be the last straw for me and
> send me running back to the BSD world.
>
> On Thu, 2020-04-30 at 23:44 -0300, Joel Maxwell wrote:
>> Hi all, hope you are managing well with shelter-in-place.
>>
>> I encountered an article today, and I hope to refrain from strong
>> reactions while I add a few thoughts below.
>> https://www.techrepublic.com/article/linux-home-directory-management-is-about-to-undergo-major-change/
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> nSLUG mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://nslug.ns.ca/mailman/listinfo/nslug

--
Jack Warkentin, phone 902-404-0457, email [hidden email]
39 Inverness Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3P 1X6
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Re: More `systemd` ... `homed`?

Jack Warkentin-2
In reply to this post by Douglas Guptill
Hi Douglas

Why did you decide that Devuan was not for you? (I have never had a
reason to try to created a Debian package.) Please see my other post
(with the subject "Devuan anyone? [Was ...") about the "hybrid"
Debian/Devuan system I am currently using.

Regards

Jack


Douglas Guptill wrote:

> On Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 11:44:04PM -0300, Joel Maxwell wrote:
>
>> I encountered an article today, and I hope to refrain from strong
>> reactions while I add a few thoughts below.
>> https://www.techrepublic.com/article/linux-home-directory-management-is-about-to-undergo-major-change/
>>
>
> I was a big fan of Debian until systemd hit.  Took a brief look at
> Devuan, and decided it was not for me.  Debian packages are (for me) a
> real pain to create. Three years ago, I switched to Slackware, and
> haven't looked back.
>
> My $0.02,
> Douglas.
>
> Douglas Guptill, B.Sc., CCP, M.Comp.Sci., THM
> _______________________________________________
> nSLUG mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://nslug.ns.ca/mailman/listinfo/nslug
>

--
Jack Warkentin, phone 902-404-0457, email [hidden email]
39 Inverness Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3P 1X6
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