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Re: Non-interactive install proposal

Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@datasync.com> writes:

>  Drake> On Tue, Jun 02, 1998 at 09:48:46PM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>  >> 
>  >> What is the benefit of keeping packages in an unconfigured
>  >> state?
>  Drake>    It's a reminder to me that I need to configure this package still.
> 	I prefer the approach to ask questions first, and configure as
>  it installs. If we are spending time to do this, we should do this
>  right. 

In general, you can't ask all questions first; you can ask some
questions, then unpack and debian-configure the packages, but then you
still have to do a lot of configuration (using an editor or some
configuration programs that "ask questions").

Think about the kernel-image postinst, generated by your
kernel-package. Only some of the possible questions are really
asked. So, either you ask all questions in advance, even those that
are not relevant for a specific configuration. Or you supply a script
for asking the relevant questions, but even that might be difficult,
because the questions depend on the state of the system which might be
different before installation than when the postinst is actually

Ian's list is a good starting point (and having the choice of being
asked some questions in advance is good), though it doesn't solve the
above points, and it's only focused on "how can i make the current
debian packages run noninteractively" which is only one aspect of "how
can i make system installation/upgrade work better". I'd like to
integrate more of the bookkeeping tasks into the debian system, like
being able to display a list of warnings/errors after installation is
finished, and a list of packages that still have to be

E.g., the debian configure run of autofs makes the debian installer
happy, but not the user -- the configuration is not usable for most
users. I don't think this user-configuration is a task that should be
handled in postinst, but it would be nice if the package system would
remind the user after installation "be sure to look into
/etc/auto.master", something like a todo-list.

Btw., the 2. version of my summary article on this is still on my
todo-list, I was swamped with work recently.

> 	Maybe you have the luxury of having a box be unconfigured and
>  non working when you go home. A lot of us are not so lucky. We
>  prefer answering the questions first, and then starting the upgrade.
>  barring bugs, the machine down time is minimized.

how do you deal with existing versus new config files during an
upgrade (or how would you like to deal with it)?

> As I said, let us solve the real issues, not apply band aids.

me too ;-)



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