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

On Thu, 3 Jul 1997 J.R.Blaakmeer@student.utwente.nl wrote:

> 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.

Well, it's not a good solution, either.  First of all, people don't
usually boot their computers.  Second, I don't want to spend place in
/etc.  Some things don't belong in /etc.  I want to immediately access
all the programs I install on the file server, from every workstation,
without making any additional efforts.  Again: look at other Unices.

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

If it depends on hardware, then it must be in /etc (like XF86Config,
for example).  Or if it depends on what the machine does (like
inetd.conf).  But otherwise, it must be in /usr (emacs conffiles and
many many more).

> 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.

When one writes a program, he puts the config file either in / or in
/usr, depending on what the program does.  Look at the sources!
Debian policy right now is to put the conffile in /etc, no matter
where it was before.

> 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
> version.

Huh.  This is not the solution.  Again and again and again: look at
other Unices.  Once the machine is installed, you just don't touch the
root partition on it.


Vadim Vygonets * vadik@cs.huji.ac.il * vadik@debian.org * Unix admin
The fish doesn't think, because the fish knows...  everything.
	-- Arizona Dream

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