Straggler: Debian Decides to Replace Sysvinit with Upstart

Sep 08, 2009

The current Debian Sysvinit boot system will gradually be replaced by upstart due to sysvinit's unreliability, according to Debian boot system maintainers.

Debian developers want first of all to implement an event-based boot system replacement in Debian 6.0 ("Squeeze") for /sbin/init, considering that the kernel is becoming more event-based. The sysvinit Debian boot system is sequentially based with the consequence that it's becoming increasingly unreliable, according to the Debian boot team. Examples are the fsck and mount tools that can't find device files in /dev, or the Network File System that can't start its service because the network interfaces aren't yet initialized.

Like Fedora and Ubuntu, Debian is settling on upstart, an init process replacement and extension project that recently reported on its status at the FOSDEM 2009. According to the debian.devel.announce entry, "the plan is to change upstart to actually use /etc/inittab, to ease the switch between sysvinit and upstart." Debian will also treat upstart jobs as init.d scripts in case a system can't handle upstart, thereby complying with the Linux Standard Base (LSB) that specifies that distros must handle packages with init.d scripts. In this way Debian is developing a boot system that will be event-based "for the early boot, and which also calls init.d scripts at the appropriate time."

The rebuilding should proceed stepwise and show its first results in Squeeze. The early boot phase will get initial attention, as boot system maintainer Petter Reinholdtsen says, "while keeping the existing boot stuff working."

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