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Re: Simple solution to pre-installation configuration

On Mon, 27 Jan 1997, Christoph Lameter wrote:

> richr >> 
> richr >> 1. The package will never refer to /var/lib/config/packagename for
> richr >>    configuration information except at installation time. The user might
> richr >>    run a reconfiguration at any time without activating that new
> richr >>    configuration.  The information in /var/lib/config is only to be
> richr >>    consulted during installation.
> richr >
> richr >How will package upgrades know what intermitten changed values to
> richr >use if the user doesn't update the /var/lib/config/packagename
> richr >file?  Shouldn't the user be able to expect continuity across
> richr >upgrades instead of having to reconfigure at each
> richr >install/upgrade?  I think this must be considered.  I realize
> That is true. I expect the values in /var/lib/config/packagename
> to be quite stable. If some values are not there then I would suggest
> that the application takes reasonable defaults and proceed.

That sounds fine (assuming the missing values get noted somewhere
they can be referenced later).

> richr >that packages may change and old values may not exist in new
> richr >versions, new values may be added, etc.   But I think its worth
> richr >it to take this a little further to accomidate upgrades before
> richr >letting it loose.  Adding an option or two to the utility to
> richr >either prompt for reconfiguration or just use existing values or
> richr >just use new defaults would be one way to handle this simply.
> My example configure script with the adpkg package already reads
> /var/lib/config/packagename and then asks the user for changes. Is that
> what you are looking for? A reconfiguration is simply another
> configuration.

Well, yeah, I guess.  But ultimately, there should be a way to
tell adpkg wich you prefer up front (i.e. "don't ask, just take
defaults for missing values", "replace current config with new
default", etc.).  Sort of a configure profile so that perhaps a
command line switch can change this behavior (or an environment
variable?).  I'll take a look at adpkg, maybe this is already the

> richr >Also adding something to each packages doc directory describing
> richr >the configurable variables and where they are would allow users
> richr >to edit the files manually to maintain them (in the absence of an
> richr >automated maintenance utitility).  It may even be possible to
> richr >offer a diff on the existing variables and the new variables as
> richr >an option and either present to the user or log it to a file.
> Some explanation of what the user is configuring is certainly to be
> desired. Is it enough to include some help in the configure script or do
> we need some extra documentation file to be displayed at configuration
> time?  

Well, I'd prefer having something in the doc directory.
I may install a package now and take default values because I
don't know enough to select my own.  Later, I may get to reading
the docs on a package to tailor it to taste.  It would be then
that I would need to see the value definitions, etc.  I'd want to
know how I want to configure it before rerunning the configure
script.  That's just me though.  Actually, it doesn't need to be
in the doc directory I guess.  It just needs to be accessable.
Having it in /usr/doc would make it accessable from dwww though.

In any case, this really sounds great.

Richard G. Roberto
011-81-3-3437-7967 - Tokyo, Japan

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