at the point that Kay, Lennart and I sat down and discussed all this stuff, I don't think Upstart was perceived as "shitty" at all. We'd had on/off discussions for ages, but the big one I remember was the LF Collab Summit in SF in April 2010.
Hindsight certainly lends a different perspective, and I'd be the first person to say that Upstart doesn't work as intended. +Lennart Poettering
makes a great point about mountall in a recent post, it was written because Upstart couldn't do the complex filesystem cases it was designed to be able to do; and I was very aware even at the time that was a failure that would need to be addressed.
Had the CLA not been in place, the result of the LF Collab discussions would have almost certainly been contributions of patches from +Kay Sievers
and Lennart (after all, we'd all worked together on things like udev, and got along) that would have fixed all those design issues, etc.
But the CLA prevented them from doing that (I won't sign the CLA myself, which is one reason I don't contribute since leaving Canonical - so I hold no grudges here), so history happened differently. After our April 2010 meeting, Lennart went away and wrote systemd, which was released in July 2010 if memory serves.
So I don't think I can claim that the perceived shittiness of Upstart spawned systemd, because at the time it wasn't seen that way. I don't think I can even claim that it provoked Lennart in any way, init was an area all distributions were fiddling with, so it was inevitable anyway.
I entirely agree with Kay and +Greg Kroah-Hartman
that it was the CLA that caused systemd to be written instead of Upstart.
But I don't need that self-affirmation anyway :) I wrote Upstart, I got paid for it, I moved on to do other things, something else came along and replaced it. If Upstart hadn't been under the CLA, and systemd hadn't've happened, all my code would have long since been rewritten by now anyway.
That's the nature of the software world, there's no point getting precious over things. Do your bit, have fun doing it, move on and let others do their bit, etc.