"Systemd is a replacement for SystemV init and in heavy
development since the first announcement on April 30th by Lennart
Poettering. Thanks to Kay Sievers' work, we have packages for
openSUSE curent Factory stream as well. I gave them a try a couple
of weeks ago but somehow did not succeed with getting a working
system. At LinuxKongress I met Lennart and decided to give systemd
another try. I still could not log into the system due to it using
NIS and automount for NFS home directories and started debugging
this together with Kay over IRC in a virtual machine first. Once we
had a workaround for me, I used systemd on my workstation and Kay
and Lennart fixed the problem in systemd properly. I run into a
couple of more problems and thus were fixed quickly so that the
last release – systemd 11 – works fine on my
workstation running openSUSE Factory (Factory is the development
version for the next openSUSE release, in this case for 11.4).
"The role of init, whether it's SysV init, upstart or systemd,
is to initialize the system (it's the first process that gets
started by the kernel) so that users can login, starts all the
essential services, e.g. the cups daemon for printing, and handles
session management. So, it's a system and session manager.
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