Status of upstart in Debian?

Petter Reinholdtsen pere at
Mon Mar 29 06:13:35 UTC 2010

[Michael Goetze]
> Hi folks,
> there was a flurry of activity on this list in November about
> migrating to upstart, but things have been very quiet since then. Is
> anyone actually working on this for squeeze? Is anyone planning to
> work on it for squeeze+1?

There is as far as I know, no work being done.  The blocking part is
to implement /lib/init/upstart-job, which would allow packages to
migrate from init.d scripts to upstart jobs without breaking existing
sysvinit based installations.

The insserv part of this is implemented (see #547235), but the upstart
part is not.

Without this part in place, I believe the migration will not happen.

The plans to implement /lib/init/upstart-job have not been followed
up, and I suspect someone else need to take over this task for it to
get done.  At the moment, Squeeze+1 seem to be the most likely target
for this migration, assuming we get the upstart-job implementation
ready in time.

> Personally, I would be more interested in an implementation without
> all the compatibility layers formerly proposed on this list,
> i.e. provide both upstart jobs and init scripts for all daemons
> etc. in Debian, and allow administrators to install whichever
> program as /sbin/init that they prefer. Would anyone else be
> interested in working on that?

I'm not.  I am convinced it will quickly lead to inconsistent and
incompatible behaviour between sysvinit and upstart based systems, and
believe that to be a bad idea.  I simply do not believe maintainers
will succeed in providing both working upstart jobs and init.d scripts
for all 850 packages with init.d scripts today.  This will most likely
break packages on FreeBSD and Hurd based Debian systems (where upstart
is not available), and I believe this to be a bad idea too. :)

I hope to find time to look at implementing upstart-job eventually,
but until now have been waiting for others to do it, as it was agreed
last summer that I would take care of the insserv part and others
would fix the upstart part.  I am rather busy, so it would be great if
someone else fixed the upstart part of upstart-job.

One issue we need to figure out is where to store runlevel settings
(start/stop) for upstart jobs, as upstart do not use the concept of
runlevels.  I suspect adding a header in a comment in the upstart job
file would work, but storing it elsewhere might be a alternative.

Happy hacking,
Petter Reinholdtsen

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