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Re: Proposal: /etc /usr/etc /usr/local/etc

J.R.Blaakmeer@student.utwente.nl writes:
 > Couldn't you do it the other way around: place the site-wide config files
 > in /usr/etc and put symlinks to them in /etc? This way, you could:
 > - Still place files that are needed at boot time in /etc
 > - Place all config files that are not modified by the workstations in
 > /usr/etc.
 > - Still mount /usr read-only because the files in /usr/etc are _only_
 > modified by the server's administrator and he only needs to alter them on
 > the server.
 > - Have one workstation that is slightly different from the rest and only
 > place the files that are different in /etc instead of the symlink.

So we agree it could be fine to have site-wide conffiles in
/usr/etc, that it would be fine to be able to override them in /etc
(though Vadim seems reluctant about that), and that it is a bad idea
to have symlinks from /ets to /usr/etc.

Then I guess that having some sort of "search path" for config files,
that is looking first if /etc contains a conffile, and only if not,
taking the one installed in /usr/etc. This could even be made to use
conffiles for groups (sub-sites) of computers, by using
/etc:/nfs/mygroup/etc:/usr/etc as a search path.

You probably spotted the problem: this would probably require to
change individual programs to conform to this, and it would be quite
difficult to have all programs work like that. We could probably speed
up the conversion process by providing a library to handle that.

Another solution, probably needing less work, would be to implement
some mechanism in the filesystem driver (yes, I do seem to like this
kind of ideas :) to make all reference to an inexistant file under
/etc be handled as a link to a file of the same name under
/usr/etc. That would be some sort of "default link" associated with a
directory. Such a mechanism, when properly detected by autoconf and
handled by user-programs, might help other programs too (though I
hardly see which ones for now :)

Any comments on this ?
Yann Dirson <dirson@univ-mlv.fr>

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