Bug#934463: initscripts: consider taking over hwclock policy machinery

Andreas Henriksson andreas at fatal.se
Sun Aug 11 11:46:52 BST 2019

Package: initscripts
Version: 2.95-4
Severity: wishlist

Dear Maintainer,

Please consider taking over the hwclock related init script (et.al.) from the
util-linux package.

These init scripts aren't really related to util-linux in any way, they
are just the old (sysvinit) *policy* on how to sync the RTC.
Unrelated to init systems other inits have chosen to push for another
policy (since syncing system clock to hardware clock has been deemed to
not be a good solution). This means several packages currently carry
overrides to disable the policy shipped in util-linux when not using
sysvinit. Basically, the situation is unnessecarily complex and things
would be much simpler if the sysvinit policy lived in src:sysvinit.
As a bonus this would also mean it's easy for sysvinit maintainers to
work on any potential changes / modernizations of their RTC policy.
(This would also bring the util-linux package closer to being a
"mechanism, not policy" package as I think it should only provide tools
and leave it up to others to decide how those tools are used.)

I would thus propose that the src:sysvinit package picks up the policy
related bits and could for example ship them in the initscripts package.

This includes:
* /etc/init.d/hwclock.sh
* /etc/default/hwclock
* the /lib/udev/hwclock-set script and the related
  udev rule file /lib/udev/rules.d/85-hwclock.rules.

BEWARE! That the files under /etc are considered 'conffiles' by dpkg
and need special attention to be correctly handled (in a policy
compliant way). Please use extra caution and make sure changes are
thoroughly reviewed before uploading. (The src:sysvinit didn't have any
conffiles in the package last I looked, but rather used a home-brew
system to handle it without involving dpkg which is why I'm pointing
this out for people who don't have previous experience with how many
gotchas there can be related to conffiles.)

I think a change such as this should be worked on early in a release
cycle which is why I'm filing this bug report now. If work to implement
this happens very soon I will offer to lend a hand as a reviewer and
could potentially also handle the util-linux side of things (as moving
the files will likely need a coordinated upload of both src:sysvinit and

Things that might be useful to look into but should in my opinion be
handled as separate issues:
- actually modernizing the policy (this bug report is fixed when the
  ownership is transfered).
- /etc/default/hwclock likely have options that are currently or
  possibly in a not to distant future non-functional as the hwclock tool
  has changed in ways that makes certain old obscure workarounds no longer
  applicable and other reasons.

Andreas Henriksson

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