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Re: Considering to drop debconf support from BRLTTY?

Jason White <jasonw@ariel.its.unimelb.edu.au> writes:

> The preferred behaviour would be:
> 1. Run auto-detection. If this is successful write the results to the
>    configuration file, or perhaps instead it should proceed to step 2
>    with detection results as the default.

It is questionable if one-time autodetection is really that useful.
What if I want to change displays later on?  run-time autodetection is
much nicer in that regard.

> 2. Prompt for the braille display type and the port, writing the
>    results to the configuration file. The prompt should be a Debian
>    dialogue with a list of options.
> Now from the mail that started this thread it appears that part 2 is
> leading to some worries. Is it inherently complicated, or only that
> the current implementation is complicated?

It is inherently complicated, and the current implementation actually
violates Debian policy.

First of all, it is not really a simple matter of writing out to a config file,
since a config file is actually under user control per debian
policy, so a debian package management script can't just override
such a file.  What needs to be done is to implement a config file parser/editor
for that particular config file format, so that the package management scripts
can edit the config, preventing loss of possible user changes.  For
a really working system, the package management scripts would first need to
read in the current config file, and then present the dialogue
and at the end, write out all the changes that have been made by the user.
This means that the package management scripts have to capture
all possible configuration combinations which could possibly occur
in a brltty.conf file, so that nothing gets lost.
For more details, read the debconf-devel(7) manpage.

> If the latter, I would suggest rewriting it rather than dropping
> it.

Do you volunteer to write and maintain this piece of code ? :-)

> I don't understand why it should be difficult: prompting for
> information and writing the results to a configuration file is
> standard practice in Debian installation scripts.

It always depends on how complicated the modified configuration files
are, additionally, I suspect that some of the other debconf using
packages do actually also violate policy in some way.


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