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Udisks2: Another Loss For Linux

Udisks2 is emerging, and while this could have been good news for Linux, it is instead a prime example of how Linux is in decline.

Author David Zeuthen explains his reasons for rewriting udisks here. To put it simply, it’s all about Gnome. It appears that increasingly udisks is becoming an internal Gnome component and less a universal Linux tool, certainly not command-line friendly. That means there is no real replacement for hal without adopting almost complete desktop environments. This is not a good state of affairs for Linux development. I haven’t tried it yet, but it will be interesting to see what a mess udisks2 makes of systems which aren’t running Gnome, since the udisks2 author seems to barely consider such use, and even works against it. udisks v1 certainly proved difficult enough with many non-Gnome users having endless polkit and consolekit issues. Rather than addressing this, udisks v2 aims to worsen it.

David Zeuthen seems to have no use for the Linux command line either – new in version 2′s docs for the command line tool:

This program is not intended to be used by scripts or other programs – options/commands may change in incompatible ways in the future even in maintenance releases. Scripts and/or other programs should either use the D-Bus APIs of udisks2-daemon(8) or native low-level commands such as mount(8).

Want to write a quick script to mount a device? Forget it, according to David Zeuthen – that’s not to be done in Linux. While this update may make Gnome’s Disks utility prettier, it undermines the core philosophy of Linux, which is that programs interoperate using simple command line interfaces and text streams. Apparently, the vision here is to make it as closed and convoluted as Windows.

Compare the command line utilities in udisks1 vs udisks2 to see how it has been crippled. Also, all backwards compatibility has been broken, rendering all udisks scripts useless until rewritten.

This has become a trend in Linux – increasing use of convoluted and buggy library APIs and mostly-broken security mechanisms, the abandonment of simple command line interfaces, and continuous breakage due to usage and API changes. This effectively turns Linux into Windows, where users can’t do much from a command line, and even when you should be authorized to do something on your own system, that system denies you permission. This decline of Linux is being enabled by desktop environments like Gnome and KDE which seek to replace core Linux tools with their own too-good-to-be-true tools, then change these tools to demand that more of their desktop environment be completely installed, security problems, bugs, and all. Lightweight apps get drawn into this cycle using the likes of gvfs and udisks, which renders them bug-ridden and bloated. Users then have to sacrifice their system security and performance to use them at all.

It’s hard to give a negative review of free software development, but I think this kind of narrow-sighted, monopolistic development does more to undermine free software in the long run. Simply put, this change to udisks leaves Linux with no good options for device management.

Related:

March 11, 2012 - Posted by | reviews

32 Comments

  1. And here i have enough trouble getting udisks working as it is, while HAL seemed to work flawlessly.

    Comment by digi_owl | March 11, 2012

  2. Red Hat is trying as they can to grasp to their share in the corporate market. Their revenue strategy was working when GNU/Linux / OSS was more segmented, and they were de facto providing the best desktop for corporate use.

    Think what you want about Canonical/Unity, but if you read between the lines of polite discussions, you will understand that Unity was an answer to Red Hat poisoning Gnome.

    Red Hat is going to fail miserably. They will loose their control over GNU/Linux desktop. Their poison will suck hours of our time and slow the growth of OSS desktop market share, but eventually Linux desktop will become even stronger.

    Cut one head, and three will grow on it’s place. This is OSS world.

    Comment by pipy | March 11, 2012

    • It’s interesting how they use the ‘free desktop’ concept to make it anything but. To use udisks, you must use other ‘free’ components, like policykit. Except that not everyone who wants a desktop (or a desktop-less system) wants policykit, consolekit, devicekit, and kitchensinkkit just to conveniently access their usb stick. I can tell you that what I hear most frequently from lightweight and alternative desktop users AND developers is ‘how do I get rid of udisks???’ Either that or ‘why doesn’t udisks work?’ PCLinuxOS is going through a big problem right now trying to get udisks to work, and trying to keep hal working. Some freedom! It is in reality more like slavery, with Red Hat holding the whip.

      Freedesktop standards are also the reason there is no trash support in SpaceFM, for example. The specs are so convoluted and downright stupid that it takes tremendous work just to do such a simple thing like moving a file to the trash. The original pcmanfm developer started it and never finished. For my part, I would never waste my time on it, just like I won’t waste much time supporting udisks.

      Then these standards keep changing, and the standard implementations like udisks keep breaking and changing. Only large organizations are able to keep up with this, and usually only the organization who created them is willing to do so. Otherwise you spend all your time keeping up with their changes and bugs.

      So I think you’re right that large organizations like Red Hat AND Canonical are poisoning Linux. (I have seen Canonical’s ways, and I have no sympathy for them if Red Hat is beating them at their own game.)

      If anyone wonders why there is a lack of innovative, functional software in Linux, this is the big reason. For example, to write a decent file manager you either need to write your own vfs, disks daemon, etc, or you need to use the likes of gvfs and udisks, which means constant breakages and changes to implement, as well as bugs you have no control over. Short of rewriting half of Linux, there isn’t much of a choice.

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | March 12, 2012

      • I always liked to arrange my desktop main menu the way I preferred it, with my own categories, sub-categories, nested folders and all. Until recently this wasn’t possible in XFCE. About two years ago one of the XFCE devs started to make XFCE “Free Desktop compliant” which apparently was a major effort because it kept him busy for a long time. When he had finished his task, XFCE 4.8 was released. In the release announcement it said that one could now edit the XFCE menu with any “Free Desktop compliant” menu editor. Great! … except that I couldn’t think of any other editor than Alacarte, a sluggishly performing Python application from the Gnome desktop. In order to try this out I booted up a Xubuntu Live-CD, opened Synaptic, selected Alacarte … and was shocked to see that the installation of this lousy little editor was trying to pull in 98 (!) dependencies, presumably the entire Gnome desktop and more. Who knows.

        To me the lesson of all of this is, that sometimes it is better not to comply with standards set by people who have their own agenda and whose motives are dubious .

        Comment by Lumpy Gravy | March 14, 2012

        • Well said – and I like the “sometimes”. Sometimes standards make use and work easier and more flexible, but they can also be used in surprisingly deceptive ways to cause problems and inflexibility. Especially when mainstream Linux seems to be slowly turning into Windows, I think its important to choose carefully the standards, APIs and dependencies one uses.

          The lightweight desktop crowd seems to have problems establishing simple standards that fit them. They’re also selling out by using gvfs and other solutions which pin them to changes decided by dev teams of large DEs. Sometimes the best solution in such a climate is to go your own way, even if that means alienating some users.

          Comment by IgnorantGuru | March 15, 2012

          • Insightful article about the Gnome user survey and the reaction of a Gnome team:
            http://www.linuxpromagazine.com/Online/Blogs/Off-the-Beat-Bruce-Byfield-s-Blog/The-Survey-That-GNOME-Would-Rather-Ignore

            Comment by pipy | March 17, 2012

            • Interesting – thanks for pointing this out. I don’t really follow Gnome development – I never used Gnome. But their choices do impact almost everyone when they control something like udisks.

              This reminds me of a recent conversation I had about how some groups of developers have become like high priests. Their intent seems to be to withhold knowledge and make entry into certain development areas controlled. They banish their own kind if they don’t tow the line. IOW they suffer from the same maladies that you see in mainstream scientific circles. Ultimately it amounts to inflexible and closed minds that consider themselves superior to mere ‘users’ – they are the ‘elite’. As such, they don’t really care about the user experience, and they certainly don’t care about making Linux more accessible to people of various levels of technical knowledge. They prefer to write dumbed-down software where users can do only what they want them to do. This doesn’t apply to all developers of course, but it’s prevalent.

              Sometimes when I reply to emails, people express surprise that a developer actually responded to them. It has become normal for many devs to be very rude and aloof toward their users, and the users have come to accept this. I decided I didn’t want to become that, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Granted, some users can make you resentful, like dealing with the public in any fashion can – you wouldn’t believe how some people speak to me. But most users are great and I try not to group them all together. The whole aloof and rude thing is just BS. There are many more users of my software now than there are of me, so I can’t always address everyone personally, but I think the whole elite thing is against the spirit of Linux.

              Even writing what I did here about udisks would be enough to banish me from their circles. That’s why I don’t associate myself with any distro or desktop, and why I make my software easy to install even if its not in your repo.

              This change to udisks wasted a lot of people’s time, both users who have to deal with unnecessary changes, and developers of scripts and software. Thanks for wasting my time with arbitrary, completely unnecessary command line changes. It’s obvious this was a dumbing down of udisks as well as Gnome Disks utility.

              I think the best solution is for both developers and users to adopt genuinely lightweight, more independent solutions and software. Gnome is now in the hands of the high priests. It’s not what it started out to be. I think many Gnome2 users have probably moved on to lighter desktops. But sometimes habit will keep us all using things long after their usefulness has ended.

              Comment by IgnorantGuru | March 18, 2012

              • >This reminds me of a recent conversation I had about how some groups of developers have become like high priests.
                >Their intent seems to be to withhold knowledge and make entry into certain development areas controlled. They banish their own kind if they don’t tow the line. IOW they suffer from the same maladies that you see in mainstream scientific circles.

                Not only in scientific circles and open-source software! I’ve long known of this attitude in some of non-party left-wing groups.

                It seems to me that this bad seed is concealed in most of us, even the ones with some of the best intentions and personalities. At the certain point it becomes harder to judge ones actions to the one who’s surrounded with fans and yes-people. For the leaders, it takes a lot of will and insight to be able to overcome this.

                Comment by pipy | March 28, 2012

  3. Red hat and gnome guys are trying to ease their development task by removing “freedom” of sysadmin, but this will fail.

    Sysadmins (e.g. their Corporate customers) will need fine control and develop scripts for automation, they will kill Red Hat for this.

    Eventually, developers will realize that the most simple way is to provide scripting ability so that their customer can do it themselves. (Take a look at Windows Server Environment – they support lot of scripting.)

    Anyway, one can fork gnome/kde/udisk and produce cross-platform desktop environment, as long as GPL is not violated.

    Comment by Anonymous | March 11, 2012

  4. Will it impact the SpaceFM device manager? On the following post:

    http://igurublog.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/spacefm-how-and-why/

    you wrote:

    “spacefm drops dependency on hal. It now supports udisks, but udisks is NOT a build or package dependency – spacefm interfaces with it the old fashioned way: text streams. In this way spacefm should be more resilient to changes in the udisks API”.

    If options are the deprecated HAL or udisks v2, how the device manager will evolve?

    Regards.

    Comment by jpfleury | March 12, 2012

    • First, udisks1 can coexist with v2, so there is no immediate issue. Since udisks2 even changed the name of the executable and the command line, it will not work with the current spacefm 0.7.2. I haven’t tried it yet, but if all that changed was the command line, udisks2 can be accommodated. Text interfaces are easy to change. If serious functionality has been removed from udisks2, then that may not be accommodated.

      I don’t see udisks having much of a future in spacefm. It is a buggy, high maintenance component which I always considered temporary, which is one reason I never bothered with its API. I don’t plan to spend further development time on it, only on alternative approaches.

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | March 12, 2012

      • OK, thanks for the explanation.

        Comment by jpfleury | March 12, 2012

  5. IMHO, a lot of this fear is overblown, scripting is entirely possible using dbus. Sure, dbus is scary compared to well known UNIX commands, but the interface is well specified and doesn’t require arcane knowledge of every command and switch. Perhaps some dbus wrappers for common functionality would be useful though? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a long time UNIX/Linux guy, and have spent the last 15 as a sysadmin, and I do value the UNIX way. Indeed for many deployments it’s pretty much ideal, but the evolution of the “Linux Desktop” and development of mobile handheld grahical devices exposed limitations in what can be achieved through pipes, redirection and sh scripting, especially when it came to hardware abstraction and event driven user interaction and security authorization. There came a need to provide a system control/configuration API with multiple language bindings rather than directly calling suid binaries with the all the inherent risks that entails, we ended up with the udev[udisks, upower,... etc]dbusapplication stack.

    Comment by Steven Newbury | April 3, 2012

    • > scripting is entirely possible using dbus

      Anything is possible. That’s not the point. Have you scripted udisks recently and fielded users’ problems with udisks/policykit/consolekit? Give it a try and you might gain a working perspective on it.

      Forcing use of dbus (which some users don’t want installed at all) where a simple command line does the job merely creates a lack of simplicity and raises the bar to using it at all. Frankly I’m surprised to see a long-time Linux admin defending it as you are, but you don’t really seem to be connecting with the end user’s experience. Maybe that is part of the problem with how these components are being developed – a point in many of the comments above. You say this is all done for the “Linux Desktop”, but I think what you mean is the heavy, corporate style desktops that seek to turn Linux users into dumbed-down Windows users – desktops which many Linux users avoid for that reason.

      I think udisks is just another way of forcing users to install heavier, less secure components whose development is controlled by the likes of Red Hat. They do everything they can to make it non-simple, inaccessible and uncooperative.

      And if you think this model is more secure, you are probably discounting the large number of users who routinely disable the security entirely to get it to work at all. Again, you’re in a theoretical position and aren’t connecting with how these components are performing in reality. Anyone can argue about it – try developing for it. Or better, don’t.

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | April 3, 2012

    • Good open-source projects (which actually think about their users and dependent developers) offer deprecation paths, configuration options, documentation.

      What do gnome-* guys offer us? They say, f**k you, tomorrow feature X will be gone. This is the difference. It doesn’t matter whether we can reimplement X or not. We use third-party frameworks and libraries because we actually want to do work apart from reinventing the wheel and implementing all features (including X) from scratch.

      >but the evolution of the “Linux Desktop” and development of mobile handheld grahical devices exposed limitations in what can be achieved through pipes

      There’s nothing wrong with implementing alternative options. Removing options without properly deprecating them — that’s what is wrong. Offer me feature Y on mobile, but keep your hands of the feature X on the desktop.

      We have desktop Firefox and Firefox mobile, we have desktop Chromium and Chromium mobile (with “compact navigation view” enabled). We have all sorts of libraries and frameworks which successfully managed to properly support mobile devices without pissing off all their userbase. Gnome-* is different. We can only speculate on why.

      Comment by pipy | April 3, 2012

      • Hello There,

        You claimed that I said “f**k you” to you, which I gather means “fuck you”.

        I’m 100% certain that I didn’t say this to you and that you are making this up. I find that rather poor behaviour.

        One of the GNOME people (we’re not all guys)

        Comment by bkor | April 20, 2012

        • Hi!

          First of all, I’d like to thank you for developing GNOME 2, which was my main desktop for 5 years. You are doing a great job while helping to develop Gimp, Evince, Inkscape and some other amazing GNOME-related projects! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

          Please, don’t pretend to be a fool who doesn’t understand that there is a million of ways to say that you don’t care about person besides telling one to fuck off. The mask of politeness doesn’t change the meaning of the message, which is, precisely: “We don’t care about you”(==”Fuck off!”).

          I wish you good luck and success of your future projects! GNOME project had been helping to promote GNU/Linux for a long time, and, hopefully, will somehow do it in the future.

          I hope that your community will reconsider it’s disregard for GNOME users (about which the history around GNOME User Survey clearly tells us) and dependent-developers alike (“This post is hilarious because the author is so clueless on so many levels” is really telling! I will never hear anything like this from the core developers of open-source projects which I happen to be following.)

          > One of the GNOME people (we’re not all guys)
          Sorry for that, here in Third World we are not yet accustomed to such levels of political-correctness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1Kb4JZGpA0#t=4m10s :))

          I really wish you all the best!

          Comment by pipy | April 20, 2012

        • @Olav/bkor! Now I’ve read your post on g+ and see that you were really insulted by my comment. So, I’d like to elaborate that I didn’t mean that GNOME people literally talk like this. This phrase was meant to emphasize the disregard of users. Probably, this was not a good idea.

          Sorry for insulting you.

          Comment by pipy | April 20, 2012

  6. We use command line because its about the best thing that works. command line, though the best of it seen in Linux, it has reached its max potential. If a command ever fails, one has to do a ‘–help’ or a ‘man’ and make necessary corrections. the simplicity and its reasonable consistency makes it powerful. Constructing arguments, getting process return values and or processing text streams, actually inefficient and uses more processing than necessary. Shell scripts don’t use APIs. APIs provide another mechanism for controlling, not just invoking another process. Standardizing APIs, API use and migration are the next step forward. Scripts can still be written using languages with API binding such as python. Its a trade-off and a desirable one. Command line scripts can also be written to use the API or invoke other scripts that do. Its possible windows saw through this and decided to bypass the effort of getting good at command line.

    Comment by hgkamath | April 5, 2012

    • > it has reached its max potential

      I don’t agree with that at all. APIs tend to create barriers more than anything else. But like any tool, they can be useful or not depending on how they are written and used.

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | April 6, 2012

  7. Here’s a new post on what’s happening with SpaceFM and udisks – the udev research went well.

    Also, I came across this article which talks about why Linus ditched KDE 4 and Gnome 3 for Xfce. I don’t agree with the author’s idea that this is merely because Linus doesn’t want to try anything new – I think that’s just making excuses for poor development. Obviously Linus is an innovative person, and the reason he doesn’t like the directions these desktops are taking is more rooted in the fact that they’re becoming closed and bug-ridden. Although it doesn’t mention udisks specifically, it reminded me of this discussion. It’s all connected.

    Comment by IgnorantGuru | April 6, 2012

    • Erm, Linus is using GNOME 3.2 these days. Not that it matters what a single guy with a very specific need is using — you’ll struggle to find a GNOME developer who cites Linus as a key target user.

      Comment by Ross Burton | April 19, 2012

  8. I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I stumbled across this in my hunt for something relating to this.

    Comment by Anonymous | June 2, 2012

  9. Hello, I’m PCMan, the original author of PCManFM.
    Congratulations to your SpaceFM!! It looks amazing.
    I’m still developing my second generation of PCManFM and I found glib/gio/gvfs very problematic.
    I totally agree with you and Udisks brings a lot of headache for us as well.
    Why people keep breaking existing things that working very well?
    I hate polkit, consolekit, and other *kit stuff very much.
    They never work reliably and the complicated layers just make me want to return to windows.
    We’re very far from KISS philosophy now. So sad. :-(

    BTW, do you have a better solution for this?

    Comment by Anonymous | June 10, 2012

    • Thank you PCMan, nice to speak with you again. You should be proud of your work on the earlier pcmanfm – it was because of its stability and KISS design that I used it as a base for developing spacefm. I have tried to keep dependencies to a minimum, because as you say they keep breaking things. spacefm has been running well in general. I avoided gvfs, instead extending and debugging the built-in vfs a bit in places. It has been reliable. There are a few threading issues that seem to give some lag with nfs, etc, but I’m hoping that can be improved. For most things it runs fast and lightweight. You did a great job putting that vfs together from the assorted sources and integrating it into the legacy pcmanfm.

      The direction udisks has taken so disappointed me that I decided I wanted to remove it from the loop. So I have spent the last few months developing udevil, which is currently in early testing, but has had very good feedback so far (the thread on the Arch Linux forum being the most active testing feedback thus far). It basically emulates the udisks1 command line tool, allowing users to mount and unmount without password, and it can monitor udev for device changes.

      I also added built-in udev support to spacefm’s vfs-volume-nohal so it can monitor udev for device additions and removals, and it can monitor system mounts and unmounts (only added dep is libudev). For mounting, spacefm can now use udevil, pmount, or any version of udisks. If used with udisks it just runs the udisks command line tool so there is no dependency on the udisks api. When used with udevil or pmount, this also completely takes policykit, consolekit, devicekit, etc out of the loop. And when used with udevil, spacefm can also now mount iso files and network urls (ftp:// etc) (this feature hasn’t quite hit release but will soon and is currently available via the git next branch).

      So I really like this approach – it is easier for me to maintain and for users to self-diagnose problems. And gvfs/udisks can break all it wants without affecting spacefm directly.

      > They never work reliably and the complicated layers just make me want to return to windows.

      Exactly – their approach always reminds me of Windows. Not that I would return to Windows. :)

      Feel free to drop me an email if you would like to discuss anything in detail – not sure I have your current email. And thanks for the positive feedback.

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 10, 2012

  10. To the author,

    I don’t think you really know what you are talking about and you seem to forget that if something doesn’t work the way people want, it will be either patched or rewritten from scratch to work the way people want it to. Open source for the win!…. and all of that stuff.(Everyone needs to remember that people do have differing opinions in the open source community). It’s not like Windows 8 or any of it’s other spawn, though, where you are stuck with what you get and perhaps, maybe, if you are lucky, 6 months later you might get a patch to fix whatever giant hole or bug..etc, is messing with your system.

    quote ” Udisks2 is emerging, and while this could have been good news for Linux, it is instead a prime example of how Linux is in decline.” /quote

    (ROFLCOPTER, seriously?)

    Linux is not even close to being in decline. Actually if anything it’s rising quite significantly, especially in the mobile area and with very prolific companies such as Valve (who own and run Steam, the largest digital distribution platform in the world(for gaming) afaik) has been very vocal about increasing support for Linux over windows(if that doesn’t tell you something I don’t know what will) and you shouldn’t forget Google…. Not to mention the plethora of Linux based projects that have met and wildly exceeded expectations in funding and popularity on sites such as Kickstarter.

    Add on to that the fact that the vast majority of smartphones/embedded devices/Tablets/gadgets like roku, ouya, or the raspberry pi ..etc are based on Linux, you can see that Linux is actually receiving and gaining ridiculous amounts of MAINSTREAM attention by the general public and the media. I mean look at almost any cell phone today. More likely than not it’s an Android phone, which with such great hardware , features available in all the different phones and customization granted by the community of developers and artists… giving us custom roms which give us options beyond what I think a lot of people thought possible.. and it’s no wonder that Android now has by quite a large margin the biggest piece of the mobile os market and I do mean by a large margin. Reports I’ve seen show Android having around 68% of the mobile os market with Iphone(ios or whatever) at 16-18%. numbers do change between the various reports on marketshares but they are not off by enough to make much of a difference. Android is by far the most dominant os in the mobile market today.

    Now Android, as a lot of you are probably screaming in your heads right now, is not a normal Linux distro as most are used to. Indeed it’s basically a modified java os using the dalvik vm, but that doesn’t mean much. It uses the same practices as any desktop linux system does, uses the same drivers in most cases (just in this case they are usually the arm architecture ones for the mobile device) and most importantly it runs because it uses the Linux Kernel!

    This is bringing extraordinarily large amounts of people into the Linux and open source community at an ever increasing pace, who would have otherwise probably never gotten involved with Linux or any of the projects based around it. So how can you even remotely begin to say that Linux is declining? it’s absurd.

    If anything what we are seeing now is in a sense just growing pains as the kernel and the various distros and projects base on it rapidly evolve and move forward due to the massive increase in users and developers.

    Comment by Chris | August 19, 2012

    • By decline I mean a decline of quality and health. Just because Linux is being corporatized and used (in the worst sense of the word) for its code base and abilities, and is being used by this many millions more people (without their awareness of what it even is or how to really command it – if they’re even allowed to), doesn’t mean it’s ‘not in decline’ or rising in quality. Growth does not necessarily mean positive development. Remember, cancer grows too. In fact it grows wildly, haphazardly, and selfishly, often causing its host to die in the end – a culmination of all the ‘rapid growth’.

      The people coming to Linux from environments such as Windows don’t know what a reliable, quality OS is, so they’re no judge. When Linux runs poorly and is full of bugs, they won’t even notice – it’s just like Windows, and as far as they know, how computers always work. When it doesn’t permit them to do something on their own system, they’ll feel right at home. If you want to know how Linux is in decline, ask the long time users and old school devs. Or, you can ask people like me in the trenches – I hear from users how these new technologies are actually working (or more likely, not) on a day-to-day basis.

      If Linux merely becomes a Windows clone in its ambition to be accepted, with a massive following of ‘users’ who can’t even be considered admins of their own systems, it is no longer ‘Linux’. It’s something that was ‘Linux’ and is now a cheap and broken Windows clone with the name “Linux”.

      Linux built the reputation it has by being solid and developed carefully. Core areas were slow to change, and as a result they were reliable. Now, changes are being made to core areas rapidly and carelessly, without regard for how they affect Linux as a whole. This is applauded by some (apparently you) because they do not see the ramifications.

      I just read that systemd is now being expanded to replace or include consolekit and policykit. systemd is another product from Red Hat – same developer Lennart Poettering, a Red Hat employee (as in ‘do what you’re told’), who jokes about ‘I broke your audio’ with the bug-ridden system-breaking wonder that was his pulse audio. Now he’s rewriting our system startup, presumably so he can joke ‘I broke your system’. Many users extremely dislike consolekit and policykit – I know because I hear about it almost every day (either because they’re having problems with them, or they’re thanking me for helping them get them off their systems with udevil and spacefm). Now how will we be rid of them when they’re sewn into systemd?

      Will the real Linux please stand up.

      I haven’t researched all of what they’re doing with systemd, so I’m mostly just raising a red flag on it at this point. My hunch is their end game is to lock down Linux with DRM, etc. HAL is currently being used in DRM schemes, poorly. I think that is their real motivation – it has nothing to offer real Linux users who want to command and customize their systems. These technologies are being put into place for distros who want to command their users.

      This is bringing extraordinarily large amounts of people into the Linux and open source community at an ever increasing pace, who would have otherwise probably never gotten involved with Linux or any of the projects based around it. So how can you even remotely begin to say that Linux is declining? it’s absurd.

      It is absurd… that you think having large amounts of people (corporations and their ‘customers’) raping Linux, taking whatever they can out of it, carelessly changing core aspects of it for the worst for their own selfish and short-sighted reasons, then discarding it when it becomes an empty husk of a name is good for Linux.

      I don’t think you really know what you are talking about and you seem to forget that if something doesn’t work the way people want, it will be either patched or rewritten from scratch to work the way people want it to. Open source for the win!…. and all of that stuff.

      Yeah, I forgot all about that even though I’m a free and open source software developer. What was I thinking?! Oh, I remember… “all of that stuff” involves many hundreds of hours of research, coding, testing, debugging, modifying, retesting, publishing, supporting, etc. Further, there are few people who understand core components well or are willing to invest the time and energy into the area – evidenced by the dearth of good tools. It simply doesn’t get done – who is going to do it? Somebody else. So a corporate whore steps in with ready-made solutions – a few Red Hat employees seem to control what most distributions use in core areas, and not because their solutions work well at all. It’s because they’re ready and available. There are few alternatives being developed, and those that are, are sidelined by major distributions. What you’re saying simply doesn’t happen in reality, at least not until the breakage is extreme.

      It’s not like Windows 8 or any of it’s other spawn, though, where you are stuck with what you get and perhaps, maybe, if you are lucky, 6 months later you might get a patch to fix whatever giant hole or bug..etc, is messing with your system.

      Actually, you’re describing the current state of Linux very well. I have a few KDE bugs that have been open for YEARS… I still check them once in awhile for nostalgia, even though I gave up using KBugs long ago. Most users just have to wait months, not until the bug is actually fixed and the software becomes stable and reliable, but until the next rapidly developed, bug-ridden solution replaces their current problems with new ones. If it looks like Windows, and behaves like Windows…

      But to an extent you’re right, in that new solutions are always evolving. That is why I bring this whole topic to light – to encourage users, devs, and distros to use alternatives to these monolithic solutions being pushed by Red Hat. I for one will be exploring alternatives to systemd (which is already getting bad gossip for further removing the admin from convenient or even possible control of their own system). And note how conveniently Red Hat has now decided to distribute (and support?) udev exclusively with systemd (more) – a precursor to what next? Not like they’re forcing it down our throats or anything.

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | August 19, 2012

  11. What’s Android got to do with redhat anyway.

    Android doesn’t use udisks or sytemd in fact it uses a lighter weight init system than /sbin/init which is 32 kb compiled on x86 compared to > 800Kb for systemd and is a barrier to development and average user configurability, a jewel of Unix-like systems.

    An important thing to realise is that many highly used by all features were dropped making me have to hack around it and others create new software to get them back. Some of these features have since been added but the new feature was enterprise multi-seat that almost no one uses and unix principles like maleability dear to users and especially deep embedded it seems are of no concern to RedHat or at best overlooked?

    Comment by Kevin Chadwick | August 20, 2012

  12. *BSDs ftw ;)

    Comment by Anonymous | September 9, 2012

  13. Someone wrote a utility for GNOME. Then he changed its behaviour. Someone is whining about its behaviour. Maybe someone should write her own utility and stop whining ?

    Comment by dean | September 15, 2012

  14. Due to repeated auto-spam hitting this older article, I am closing it for further comments. Feel free to leave comments on this in a newer article such as You’re fired, Red Hat.

    Comment by IgnorantGuru | November 30, 2012


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