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All it takes is the motivation, a group of likeminded individuals and the willpower to deliver a dist that does not use systemd. I expect most packages in the debian universe have no deps on systemd and therefore no work required to support those packages. So we're talking system packages, some daemons and maybe a few shims for edge cases.
As for why there are only 2 dists left not to have gone to systemd, perhaps that should serve as a clue in itself.
I'm not sure what the fuck "old-school" even means since it has constantly changed from its inception. Except by saying "old-school" you demonstrate that Amish mentality - drawing a line in the sand and saying things shouldn't possibly progress beyond that point, even if its for the better.
All the whining over systemd could apply equally to procfs, devfs, pci, usb, btrfs, acls, etc. A barrage of changes that (competent) admins are expected to incorporate into their knowledge.
Linus (impatient with the pace of HURD) developed a quick and dirty kernel that a Unix user land could be built on top of. He took a lot of shortcuts, he didn't think too much about portability and basically just made a beeline for the end line - to get a shell and hence other stuff running over a kernel. The kernel filled out and became portable as the project gained momentum and volunteers.
Whereas HURD got stuck up its own ass for correctness and politics. And that's even before Linux existed as a thing. It's hardly a surprise that when Linux did appear that people jumped ship.
It's true there was a debate about micro kernel designs but that alone doesn't explain HURD's failure.
Why do people dislike systemd so much?
Some Linux users are a bit like the Amish.
Worst of all is when they embark on a rewrite and give up half way through. I was involved in a project to port a C++/ActiveX based system to
Who winds up paying for that?
All those pretentious hipsters who created the heightened demand for almonds in the first place because dairy / wheat is oh-so bad (it isn't).