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Re: "hello? ping! ping!", plus "my wish list", plus "democracy sucks" (fwd)

I accidentally sent this only back to Bryce instead of the list. He suggested that
I send it to the list as well, so here you go..

---------- Included Text ------------
From: CoB SysAdmin (Joe Emenaker) <jemenake@lab.busfac.calpoly.edu>
Subject: Re: "hello?  ping!  ping!", plus "my wish list", plus "democracy sucks"
To: bryce@digicash.com
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 97 13:21:58 PDT


[ snip ]

> 5.  Better replacement for dselect.  (I know, you've heard it 
> before, but I thought I should mention it.)

Personally, my vote (for what it's worth) would be for something akin to what "make
menuconfig" gives you're configuring the kernel source. The problem here is that
ncurses-dev (one of the things it requires) is about 700K; clearly not worth it. But
how big is a compiled version? Granted, you'd probably need to put ncurses in the 
dist... but it would be *so* nice. <shrug>

Here's another long-standing wish of mine: whenever I install a package and it finds
a previous copy of a config file, I get the standard "Y to install package maintainer's
version, N to keep installed version, Z to get a shell...". A few suggestions:
 o "Z" should execute a new shell (thus using "exit" to return) rather than z suspend
	requiring a "fg %1". However, it appears that this has just recently been done.
 o Whether I select "Y" or "N" usually depends on whether any significant changes
	have been made to the new version. How about an option to see the output of a
	`diff conffile conffile.dpkg-new`?
 o Going further with that idea, is there any interest in possibly adding the func-
	tionality to use diff to find the changes made to the previously distributed
	config file and then use patch or some other tool to make those mods to the new
	config file. The place where this would be most helpful is with the base-passwd
	package, where both the installed and distributed copies are almost guaranteed to
	contain entries that aren't in the other. Every time I update base-passwd, I either
	have to do alternating "diff passwd passwd.dpkg-new" and "vi passwd" until the diff
	comes up with nothing new in the dpkg-new version, or I'll 
	"cat passwd.dpkg.new >> passwd" and then use vi to cut/paste the new entries.
	Blech! It would be *sooooo* nice to have a utility that would just do some sort
	of diff/patch magic. I'd be willing to work on this with someone if the idea sounds
 o Sometimes, I'm given the "Y, N, or Z" question for I file that I'm sure I haven't
	modified. What if there was an MD5 or a CRC of the distributed file? When installing
	a new version, the install script could check the CRC of the previous copy and see
	if it had been modified. If it hadn't been touched, then don't even show the
	"Y, N, Z" question.
 o At the very, VERY least, can we, at least see this: If I choose "Z" to go examine
	the files, can I, at least, be put in the directory where they reside? For example,
	if I'm going to look at /etc/passwd and /etc/passwd.dpkg-new, then can the "Z" 
	start me out in /etc? It seems like a no-brainer, but it's been strangely lacking
	this whole time.

- Joe

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