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Arch migrates to SystemD ..and gets a little-bit better Gnome support!

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Stéphane Gaudreault said on Arch’ ML

Systemd has a overall better design than SysV, lots of useful administrative features and provide quicker boot up. Considering that it has been around in our repositories for some time and that it could be considered stable enough for production use, I would suggest to replace iniscript by systemd once the ‘Missing systemd units’ is over. Thus we will avoid duplicating our efforts on two init systems.

Any objections to start the migration process ?

However there weren’t any objections. On contrary Arch Team applause that move.

Jan de Groot respond

Go ahead. Maintaining 2 systems is a lot of duplicate work. Besides the duplicate work, you’ll get covered in patches trying to support setups that avoid installing something new.

Polkit is an example of this: we have a patch to make systemd optional at runtime, we request users to test it, and instead of testing it we end up with a 300+ posts thread about how bad Lennart is, with nearly no-one trying to investigate what is wrong about the patch and in which situations it doesn’t work.

Arch ML / Source

Why SystemD

sysvinit Upstart systemd
Interfacing via D-Bus no yes yes
Shell-free bootup no no yes
Modular C coded early boot services included no no yes
Read-Ahead no no[1] yes
Socket-based Activation no no[2] yes
Socket-based Activation: inetd compatibility no no[2] yes
Bus-based Activation no no[3] yes
Device-based Activation no no[4] yes
Configuration of device dependencies with udev rules no no yes
Path-based Activation (inotify) no no yes
Timer-based Activation no no yes
Mount handling no no[5] yes
fsck handling no no[5] yes
Quota handling no no yes
Automount handling no no yes
Swap handling no no yes
Snapshotting of system state no no yes
XDG_RUNTIME_DIR Support no no yes
Optionally kills remaining processes of users logging out no no yes
Linux Control Groups Integration no no yes
Audit record generation for started services no no yes
SELinux integration no no yes
PAM integration no no yes
Encrypted hard disk handling (LUKS) no no yes
SSL Certificate/LUKS Password handling, including Plymouth, Console, wall(1), TTY and GNOME agents no no yes
Network Loopback device handling no no yes
binfmt_misc handling no no yes
System-wide locale handling no no yes
Console and keyboard setup no no yes
Infrastructure for creating, removing, cleaning up of temporary and volatile files no no yes
Handling for /proc/sys sysctl no no yes
Plymouth integration no yes yes
Save/restore random seed no no yes
Static loading of kernel modules no no yes
Automatic serial console handling no no yes
Unique Machine ID handling no no yes
Dynamic host name and machine meta data handling no no yes
Reliable termination of services no no yes
Early boot /dev/log logging no no yes
Minimal kmsg-based syslog daemon for embedded use no no yes
Respawning on service crash without losing connectivity no no yes
Gapless service upgrades no no yes
Graphical UI no no yes
Built-In Profiling and Tools no no yes
Instantiated services no yes yes
PolicyKit integration no no yes
Remote access/Cluster support built into client tools no no yes
Can list all processes of a service no no yes
Can identify service of a process no no yes
Automatic per-service CPU cgroups to even out CPU usage between them no no yes
Automatic per-user cgroups no no yes
SysV compatibility yes yes yes
SysV services controllable like native services yes no yes
SysV-compatible /dev/initctl yes no yes
Reexecution with full serialization of state yes no yes
Interactive boot-up no[6] no[6] yes
Container support (as advanced chroot() replacement) no no yes
Dependency-based bootup no[7] no yes
Disabling of services without editing files yes no yes
Masking of services without editing files no no yes
Robust system shutdown within PID 1 no no yes
Built-in kexec support no no yes
Dynamic service generation no no yes
Upstream support in various other OS components yes no yes
Service files compatible between distributions no no yes
Signal delivery to services no no yes
Reliable termination of user sessions before shutdown no no yes
utmp/wtmp support yes yes yes
Easily writable, extensible and parseable service files, suitable for manipulation with enterprise management tools no no yes

Why SystemD? Learn More!

*the above features might be a bit old

Upstart is Ubuntu’s Init Manager, developed and maintained by Canonical, it was the previous Fedora’s Init Manager and it is used also (as far as I know) in Google Chrome OS.

There were some discussions (that I cannot find), for making systemd a Gnome3 dependency, but they dropped that. Systemd -for now- it is known to work only in Linux kernels. Not Unix/BSD.

By the way

Arch Linux is not a user-friendly distro. Till you set it up for first time, you have to spend some time in its Wiki. If you are Linux DE enthusiasts you have DEFINITELY try it. It has the best documentation that you will ever find in a distro and an amazing qualified community. Just give it a try!

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  • Hunterm

    Arch Linux is not a real Distro?


    • alex285

      You know what I mean!

      • Aventinus

        *sigh* Readers… They take every sentence literally. :-P

        • alex285

          You’re right I guess, I changed it a bit!

          • Hunterm

            Arch Linux is not a user-friendly distro.

            That’s more like it!

          • Guest

            I think Arch Linux is one of the most user-friendly distros out there (for people who know what they do, because you haven’t a clutter of things which make its difficult to make that it do what you _really_ want).

            I think its less “automated” as other distros ;)

          • Hunterm

            I personally think that too, but I suppose this blog isn’t really geared as much towards people like Arch users.

          • alex285

            Hey hey, user-friendly in Linux means 5 clicks to install, another 5 clicks to setup and you are ready to go. I know what you mean, and you know what I mean :)

  • kamilprusko

    That’s a good read. I like this website more and more each day :)

  • Aventinus

    That’s nice although I don’t really understand what that means in full depth. But I trust the Arch community. Speaking of which… I should head back to Arch soon. (Ubuntu + Gnome Shell atm)

    • alex285

      I added this link:

  • Krzysztof Krzyżaniak

    evangelization mode: “Yes, it is written systemd, not system D or System D, or even SystemD. And it isn’t system d either”. More on

    • alex285

      for the titles shake only :) The link you gave was the second link I gave :)

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  • ScionicSpectre

    As an Archer, I’m both happy about this decision, and not surprised. It makes sense.

    Also, even though you might need a small amount of know-how to install and maintain Arch, it’s not like you have to be a developer to understand it. Obviously, as a GNOME 3 user on Arch, I still value a pleasant interface that’s ‘Made of Easy’. To be honest, I use Arch for the packages (up to date repository with minimally patched stable software, as well as AUR to fill any gaps).

    If you already use Linux and you want to be a bit more familiar with your system (and not install any packages you don’t need), I’d definitely recommend giving it a try. Just check out the Beginner’s Guide.