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Re: Linuxconf

On 2 Jun 1998, Manoj Srivastava wrote:

> >>"Craig" == Craig Sanders <cas@taz.net.au> writes:
>  Craig> i am also not sure that editing the config files directly is a
>  Craig> good thing. in fact, i think it is prone to error, with
>  Craig> potentially disastrous results (the parser would either place
>  Craig> arbitrary restrictions on what can be done in the config file
>  Craig> or would make mistakes).  IMO, the config files should be
>  Craig> generated from a plain text template (i.e.  the config file
>  Craig> plus some markup language), merging in the config values
>  Craig> stored in a config database.
> I was going along, somnolently agreeing with your comments about the
> necessity of preserving comments, and then I hit this paragraph (and I
> hope I misunderstand it).

i think you misunderstand me.

i was referring to a _program_ (such as linuxconf) editing the files
directly as a bad thing because it is likely to conflict with the right
of a human to edit it with the editor of diVInity.

> Who do you think should not be editing the config files? 

linuxconf.  or any other configuration assistant tool.

config files belong to a human.  the system admin or their delegate.

if a program edits it too, it should do it in a way which does not
interfere at all with that human's right to put whatever s/he desires in
the file.  if it can not guarantee that 100% then it should not edit the

> There are times, especially in a crisis, where I tend to revert to my
> instinctive (and posssibly atavistic) direct manulation of the files
> the program reads (edit/save/hup/edit/save ...) and only when mail has
> stopped bouncing to the four corners of the earth that I backpactch
> sendmail.cf to sendmail.mc (and even add a cute little m4 HACK if I
> have time).

me too (at least in general principle...not specifically sendmail.cf but
many other things)

sometimes this is the only way that you can get something working - and
this is precisely why hand-edited changes must - repeat MUST - take

not abiding by this fundamental rule is the fatal flaw in every single
configuration tool i have looked at.  They all make this mistake, which
is why they are all inadequate and fundamentally flawed.

> Don't you dare take editing the config files in the one true editor
> away from me ;-).

i have no intention of preventing you from using vi :-)

you can even use other editors if you prefer the blasphemous bloat of
eighty-megabytes-and-constantly-swapping (which i must admit, makes a
damn nice newsreader with gnus, especially if you use the viper module
to get decent key bindings).


craig sanders

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