Dear Package Maintainers: Stop Being Clever

Matt Simmons the Standalone Sysadmin writes:

In the Linux world, there are two ways of treating a service/daemon installation.

The Right Waytm (which is what Redhat does) is to install the service but not start it immediately. This only makes sense. The administrator hasn’t had time to configure it yet, it may be harmful, etc, etc. You should install the software, make it available, put skeleton config, whatever, but leave it up to the administrator to actually turn on.

The Wrong Way is what Debian / Ubuntu does, where software that’s being installed will begin running immediately following the completed installation. This is wrong. It’s bad. It was, in my opinion, a dumb design decision.

That being said, it was a design decision made by the distribution. If you are a person who packages software for a distribution that has made certain design decisions,


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About the author

Stephen Foskett

Stephen Foskett is an active participant in the world of enterprise information technology, currently focusing on enterprise storage, server virtualization, networking, and cloud computing. He organizes the popular Tech Field Day event series for Gestalt IT and runs Foskett Services. A long-time voice in the storage industry, Stephen has authored numerous articles for industry publications, and is a popular presenter at industry events. He can be found online at,, and on Twitter at @SFoskett.

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