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Re: Non-interactive install proposal

>>"Andreas" == Andreas Degert <ad@papyrus.hamburg.com> writes:

 Andreas> Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@datasync.com> writes:
 >> 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. 

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

	Why can't you ask all the questions first? I am too thnking of
 the kernel image package. I can easily design a framework that
 gathers all the data a priori -- and yes, you have a point; 
 Andreas> because the questions depend on the state of the system which might be
 Andreas> different before installation than when the postinst is actually
 Andreas> executed.
	I may then need to ask extra questions in a what if
 manner. All it takes is a little bit of thought while creating
 the questions. And the databse so generated can be truly machine
 independent, and be used to replicate machines in a compute farm.

	Two ver worthy birds with one stone.

	Therefore, I do think that Ians proposal handles the points
 you mentioned.

 Andreas> I'd like to integrate more of the bookkeeping tasks into the
 Andreas> debian system, like being able to display a list of
 Andreas> warnings/errors after installation is finished, and a list
 Andreas> of packages that still have to be user-configured.

	I want to eliminate that list. I agree about important
 notices; however, that is fairly simple to implement; and there is
 not much of an design issue there.

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

	Hmm. Asking ahead of time may not be a satisfactory solution
 unless one can compare the two sets of config files. Gack. Well,
 rather than dpkg asking a bland question, we need the package
 maintainer provide a text lsiting changes in the conf file, and use
 that to prompt a user whether they want the new file? 

	We can't probably default to the old file (the new version
 of the code might not be backwards compatible); or the new version
 (the package may not be useable without changes).

	Ifg we want to make non interactive installs a reality, we
 have to put in work to support it -- and that means creating a change
 text for each conffile. Lintian can check whether the developr has
 provided the change text; it can even be in changelog format, so dpkg
 can extract the changes since a particular version of the conffile.

	So, if the conffile has changed, dpkg looks to see the version
 that was installed, grabs the changelog, and asks the installer
 whether they accept the changes.

	There. Not bad for an off ther cuff answer, is it?


 "Help save the world!"  --Larry Wall in README
Manoj Srivastava  <srivasta@acm.org> <http://www.datasync.com/%7Esrivasta/>
Key C7261095 fingerprint = CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05  CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E

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