would like to find a way to contribute

Mason Loring Bliss mason at blisses.org
Sun Jul 17 02:30:59 BST 2022

Hi all. I've been using Debian since about 2002. Prior to that I was a
devout NetBSD fan, but getting security updates for pkgsrc was challenging.
(If Ian is on the list, when we were both at nCipher I wasn't running a big
range of services, so NetBSD was fine, but in my next job I used it to
replace a wide variety of legacy services, and chasing security updates was

When I tried Debian, I quickly fell in love, as it was clearly meant to be
a pleasure for systems administrators to use. I've been using it since,
with core services like email on Debian regardless of whatever else I'm
running at the time. In 2014 I starting trying to find a replacement,
between the systemd fiasco, the FTP masters rejecting ZFS On Linux, and the
process to censure Linus Torvalds for his DebConf Q&A comments, which for
him were fairly innocuous. But nothing else serves the purpose half as
well as Debian.

I was involved with Devuan for a while, but only after getting involved did
I fully realize how little they were able to actually add to what you could
get out of Debian directly. Shipping elogind, libelogind0, and eudev to a
large extent mean you're still depending on systemd and just calling it
something else. That, some strong anti-vaccine sentiment as a common
attitude in the community, and the community being too frequently toxic
wore on me, and I've returned to just using straight Debian. I've tried
moving to Slackware, to Void, and to FreeBSD, but each time I miss the
polish and quality in Debian and invariably come back.

As Debian seems to be the only thing I'm willing to use, I'd like to make
sure that sysvinit stays healthy and vibrant within it, and I'd like to
find out how to contribute to this group. (My primary issue with systemd is
largely that I see it being insatiable and leaving fewer opportunities for
people to write new software the more functions it subsumes. A second issue
is the utter lack of interest in portability, which, for example, leaves
both Debian GNU/HURD and Debian GNU/kBSD in a lurch.)

I'm aware of an issue that bites me using sysvinit today, wherein root on
LUKS cycles through timeouts as it's never able to unlock. As of Bullseye,
this can be worked around by setting skip="y" in the file

    _do_stop_callback() {
        local i rv=0 skip="y"

I'd love to see a better solution, perhaps with "skip" being settable via a
variable in /etc/default/cryptdisks since that file already exists. This
would be a fix within cryptsetup, not sysvinit, but it only impacts
sysvinit folk, so it seems something for which this group might have good

I'd like to learn enough about debian-installer to use it (as potentially
separate projects) for sysvinit installs and ZFS root installs. Today
accomplish both with a scripted install run from live media:


...but it'd be nice to have both via alternate install media and using the
actual (and deeply pleasant) debian-installer.

I can work on these independently, but I'd like to find a way to contribute
to sysvinit in Debian as well if there's meaningful work I can do towards
that end. While I've got little Debian packaging experience, I'm quite
willing to learn - the extent of what I do now is write metapackages to
gate kernel updates until I have ZFS kmods built for the new kernel
versions, all of it then served up from a local repository I maintain with

Thank you in advance for your thoughts and direction.

Mason Loring Bliss             mason at blisses.org            Ewige Blumenkraft!
(if awake 'sleep (aref #(sleep dream) (random 2))) -- Hamlet, Act III, Scene I
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