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

On Tue, 1 Jul 1997 19:59:36 +0300 (IDT) , Vadim Vygonets wrote:
> On Tue, 1 Jul 1997 J.R.Blaakmeer@student.utwente.nl wrote:
> > 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.
> ...and when I need to install another program, I'll need to pass all
> the workstations and put a symlink there.  No thanks.

You could run a script regularly on all workstations at boot time (or from
the crontab if they don't boot very often), that would check if there were
any new files in /usr/etc. A file would be 'new' if there wasn't a symlink
(with the same name) to it in /etc and if there wasn't a file with the same
name in /etc. I can't imagine writing such a script will be difficult.

> > - Have one workstation that is slightly different from the rest and only
> > place the files that are different in /etc instead of the symlink.
> What would the difference be?  Different emacs config?  Why?  Let's do
> it like in other Unices -- there are plenty of config files in /usr,
> and everyone mounts /usr read-only.  What's the problem with Linux,
> may I ask?  What's the difference?  For decades we have config files
> in /usr on other Unices.

I was more thinking of one workstation that has one piece of hardware
different from the others. But if that isn't the case in your situation,
forget about it.

I don't know much about other unices, but I think you will never get your
wishes to be the standard. Who is to decide which configuration file is
site-wide? I can imagine that some people would want a local config file
for some program where you would want to have a site-wide config file. I
still believe that the system with symlinks is the best way to do this.

Maybe dpkg should ask at installation time if a config file will be
computer-specific or site-wide. In the case of a site-wide config file it
would place a diversion for all files in /etc to /usr/etc and place the
right symlinks. The script I mentioned above would update all
workstations. Of course this behaviour of dpkg would be a feature that
has to be turned on or else everyone who is using Debian on a standalone
computer will be asked those questions every time. And of course the
question would not be asked again if a package is upgraded to the next

Jean-Luc Picard: To baldly go where no man has gone before.

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