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Re: Proposal: A config file for runlevels (DRAFT)

On Wed, 1 Jan 1997, Miquel van Smoorenburg wrote:

> But. Everybody and his dog uses it. Why do we have to be incompatible with
> that. If you do want that, fine. But then also get rid of all config files
> in /etc, put that in a registry, and don't call it Unix.

Your comment indicates that emotions and illusions are driving the
discussion not technical considerations. This is quite usal if one breaks
with common practice - especially if people are proud of having understand
this complicated practice (without critical reflection). So I don't take
it personal.

To express the setup of the SysV runlevels via links is a common practice
although it differs from vendor to vendor in the details. For example,
Solaris uses hardlinks instead of symlinks (and removes them on the
fly) and handles a ".sh" extensions differently. So there is nothing we
are compatible with (in the sense of a global standard for the Unix 

What I did is a re-arrangement of the information into a single file
instead of currently 6 files (I view the 6 rc?.d directories as files
because the only hold names of links [files without content]). The purpose
of the file is still specialised and has nothing to do with a central
"registry". It's still the Unix way of doing things.
Other systems are "incompatible" within this interval, to: the changes are
absolutly obvious for everyone who dealt with runlevels before
(provided there is a "/etc/rc0.d-README" or some hint like that).

The new situation would be: if the sysadmin uses "update-rc.d" he does not
notice a difference because there is a compatible one available. If he
does it manually, he will notice the missing directories and will find the
hint in /etc/init.d/README (or by looking into one of those scripts).
The new config file should be that easy that people are not angry about
this "incompatibility" but happy that some organisation had the courage to
break with a messy practice and to use an almost compatible one instead.

Maybe I have not stressed the advantages enough:

      * no need for a GUI - you can use you favourite editor instead
        (so the range of people profiting from it is wider)

      * the new config file is easy to survey but almost compatible
        with the old scheme

      * you can place comments into the setup to document it

      * you can easily make backups of your setup by copying a single
        file instead of tar'ing a bunch of several hundred links

      * no limitations on numbers - there is already support for
        symbolic keywords to describe the runlevel ("halt", "reboot",
	"single") if you like them better


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