Reinventing Linux home directories with systemd-homed

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Article from Issue 235/2020
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Systemd has already changed almost everything about the Linux startup process. Now an experimental new feature takes on the challenge of user home directories.

Systemd [1] was originally released on March 30, 2010 as a replacement for System V (SvsV) and BSD init. SysV init had been part of Linux for many years. The name System V, in fact, invokes memories of an early version of the Unix operating system that predated the Linux era.

The init system is the first service that starts after the system boot, and it is responsible for starting all the other services. The term "init" is short for "initialize," and the role of the init system is to start everything that needs to be started when the OS springs to life.

SysV init was stable and predictable, but many developers believed it was past its prime. Perhaps the biggest issue with SysV init was that it was designed before the age of multiprocessing systems and could only do one thing at a time. Processes and services started in serial fashion, which significantly slowed down the boot process. Other developers and users wished for a system that was more consistent, with a better API and a more sophisticated means for expressing dependencies.


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