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systemd 10 years later: a historical and technical retrospective

systemd, 10 years later a historical and technical retrospective
The systemd is a init replacement and basic building blocks for a Linux system. The majority of Linux distributions have adopted systemd and replaced older init systemd such as the UNIX Sys V and BSD init. This article covers a historical and technical retrospective of systemd.

systemd 10 years later: a historical and technical retrospective

From the essay:

10 years ago, systemd was announced and swiftly rose to become one of the most persistently controversial and polarizing pieces of software in recent history, and especially in the GNU/Linux world. The quality and nature of debate has not improved in the least from the major flame wars around 2012-2014, and systemd still remains poorly understood and understudied from both a technical and social level despite paradoxically having disproportionate levels of attention focused on it.

I am writing this essay both for my own solace, so I can finally lay it to rest, but also with the hopes that my analysis can provide some context to what has been a decade-long farce, and not, as in Benno Rice’s now famous characterization, tragedy.

In the first chapter, on the basis of contemporary mailing list posts, I discuss efforts to modernize init, rc and service management that took place before systemd.

In the second chapter, I discuss the early history and design philosophy of systemd.

The third chapter is a technical critique of systemd.

The fourth chapter discusses other historical parallels to systemd in FOSS development.