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debconf-based administration tool (warning: ideas but no code)


Another idea of mine for increasing the desktop-friendliness of Debian would be
an tool written using debconf which would allow the user to perform all (or nearly
all) administrative tasks.  It could consist of a basic entry-point, or rather one for
each back-end supported by debconf, into which modules in the form of scripts
using debconf could be plugged.  The tool itself might do no more than display a
list of categories and when one is selected the modules available in that
category.  Debian packages could drop a script into the tool's module directory to
add their modules.

The modules need not have problems when used in a mixed way with manual
configuration editing and other configuration tools.  That is, if a section of a
configuration file doesn't need to be changed it should be left as it is, including all
comments and formatting, and if a section needs to be changed and it has been
edited manually in a way that the module can't parse, the module should warn
the user before making changes.

The nice thing about this would be that it would allow a consistent, text-editor-less
and command-line-less administration of a Debian system regardless of which
desktop environment is in use.  I particularly like the idea of a small headless
server being administered this way using the web-GUI interface, which should be
possible with a bit of fiddling and little coding.  I realise though that it may be hard
to convince the Debian community as a whole that this is a "good thing", and that
without that it has no value.



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