The distros are using systemd because it makes writing startup scripts easier. They take up fewer lines. That's about it. It has nothing to do with DevOps." -
you mean configuration files, not startup scripts.
No, no he does not, and there is no obvious reason how you might come to that conclusion except deep ignorance. The configuration files for the programs differ little when systemd is involved. The startup scripts are intended to go away, and be replaced by unit files, which are indeed easier to write than init scripts as they are simply a collection of variables. They are organized into sections segregated by square brackets like a windows ini file, but AFAICT the names of the variables are all globally unique anyway (corrections welcome) so you could reasonably just stuff a unit file into a script that would suck it into the environment and then do stuff based on the unit file to implement a really dumb shell script that would be more difficult to customize than what we have now — init scripts which can implement as much functionality as desired.
I was suggesting the internet would have been ablaze with structured factual comments from these "devops", letters to Redhat etc. a bit like the Devuan guys who put their money where their mouth was and are making their own way without systemd.
DevOps doesn't mean much, I share your skepticism of overuse of the term. It's from Agile, and may or may not have useful meaning outside of Agile-land... which itself may or may not have useful meaning.
On the other hand, I keep hearing that systems administrators who use cloud services and are thus "administering" umpty-hojillions of "machines" enjoy systemd because reasons, but I never see a citation for that, either.
It should be a large movement capable of stopping systemd developing if they actually existed
You can't stop systemd from developing, especially since it had corporate backing. And for people who don't follow every distribution's MLs, systemd sort of snuck up on us. We didn't imagine that debian would convert to systemd, for fuck's sake. Statistically nobody even imagined that until it was happening. Who would have ever thought that the one time Debian moved quickly on something, it would be something contentious?