Visiting some forum online that discuss about Debian and Xubuntu, I saw some users that add this line in the signature field:

...With no systemd...

This line is showed with pride (it seems to me).

From Wikipedia:

systemd is a suite of system management daemons, libraries, and utilities designed as a central management and configuration platform for the Linux computer operating system.

So systemd doesn't seem like a bad thing, so why do people write with pride that they don't use it?

Can systemd be dangerous, or just bad for you?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Chris Down, Archemar, cuonglm, don_crissti, G-Man Sep 20 '15 at 17:51

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Have you read the Adoption and reception part of that Wikipedia article ? It has references to multiple articles on why some people don't like it. – Leiaz Sep 20 '15 at 14:03

No, it is neither dangerous nor bad for you. You have stumbled upon a little battle of the init wars. I will not get into this in detail but, briefly, the situation is as follows.

Linux has been using sysvinit for most of its lifetime. This is old and lacks features and the one thing pretty much everyone agrees on is that it needs to be changed. However, nobody can agree on what it should be changed to. Various alternatives were proposed, including--but not limited to-- the following:

Both of these are good in their own way and bad in others. As so often happens in the geek world, the choice of which init system (either one of those two or another) to adopt became something similar to a religious war.

So, you happened to come across someone who dislikes systemd and, therefore, is proud of not using it. There are various people who have the opposite opinion and think that systemd is wonderful and everything else awful. Just like there is on any other subject on the wide and wonderful interwebs.

Happily, the init wars are simmering down and are now past their prime. Most Linux distributions have decided to switch to systemd. Even Canonical's Ubuntu, despite their being the force behind upstart. So, today, systemd is actually the init system of choice for pretty much all major disrtibutions except Gentoo (image source):

enter image description here


Did you read the Wikipedia article that you linked? Specifically, the third paragraph.

The design of systemd has generated significant controversy within the free software community. Critics argue that systemd is overcomplex and suffers continued feature creep, and that its architecture violates the design principles of Unix-like operating systems. There is also concern that it forms a system of interlocking dependencies, thereby giving distribution maintainers little choice but to adopt systemd as more pieces of user-space software come to depend on its components.

There is also a large section further down titled "History and controversy".


It depends on what you consider malicious. Eg. suckless.org does consider it malicious:


I am definitely not trying to start a flame war here and in fact I do use it as a Debian user, but frankly I for one agree with suckless.

UPDATE: I feel I should explain why I agree with suckless. So here goes: I think it's way too complex and provides too "centralized" control over the system. Core dumps, logs, etc are stored at the journald db. What if my fs fails and the db gets corrupted - no more logs to look at. No more core files to analize. Plain file storage naturally provide better failure resilience in such cases. I personally agree pretty much with every point in the suckless list but I leave the answer to the main question to everyone's discretion.

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    you should say why – mikeserv Sep 20 '15 at 17:17
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    @mikeserv: There are a lot of "because" on the suckless page. :) and in Wikipedia page (quoted in the answer by Sparhawk). I think it's way too complex and provides too "centralized" control over the system. Core dumps, logs, etc are stored at the db. What if my fs fails and the db gets corrupted - no more logs to look at. No more core files to analize. Plain file storage naturally provide better failure resilience in such cases. So, yeah - WHY?!? – Alex Sep 20 '15 at 17:42
  • coredumps and logs can be written to journals and/or syslog,console,others, i dont disagree it can be complicated, but i dont think that directly translates to malicious, and i dont think this answer supports that translation. – mikeserv Sep 20 '15 at 17:46
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    @mikeserv: true. However it's either journal db or additional bottleneck In system logging (now the logging depends on journald AND on syslogd). Regarding malicious point: that as I said depends on what you consider malicious. If a system prevents failure resilience - that's indeed malicious to me. – Alex Sep 20 '15 at 17:53
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    Not saying this is the case specifically with systemd, but a combination of independent subsystems can actually increase failure resistance. Compare a monolithic kernel to a microarchitecture kernel. Let's ignore performance and just look at failure resistance. Which is more resistant to failures: a combination of (potentially large) components, interacting with each other through well-defined interfaces; or a huge single mass of code where everything is free to poke at anything by accident? I think it can be argued that done properly, the microarchitecture choice is more failure-resistant. – a CVn Sep 20 '15 at 18:15

Not as much malicious as perhaps daft.

The designers are so full of their own vision that they fail to comprehend the things that make POSIX-type systems great.

"Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly."

          Henry Spencer

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