You have "init freedom" as demonstrated by your new distro, easily created with your favourite init system. Other people exercise their "init freedom" by choosing to use systemd. And others are aware they have an "init freedom" but are unsure how best to use it so they stuck to what they knew.
In short, some people didn't like a new feature so they used the free software to make a version they were comfortable with. This is perfect, however much you do or don't give a shite about systemd, you have to love that people have the tools to do what they want.
Not sure it is "news", but then El Reg has the freedom to decide what it calls news, not I.