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Re: XML as a standard UNIX config file format (Re: Caldera installation - something Debian should learn)

>>>>> On 23 Apr 1999 14:57:07 -0000
>>>>> "Robert" == Robert Woodcock <rcw@debian.org> wrote:

Robert> Robin Stephenson wrote:

>> The disadvantage, of course, is that *every* program would have to
>> be ported to use XML as its config file format.

Robert> This is a disadvantage? I say let's dig in :)

It doesn't scale very well -- every time the upstream author changes
their program the patches will have to be checked, and possibly
modified.  Still, I take your point: one has to start somewhere, and
this is effectively what Debian is doing with the maintainer system &
the Debianisation patches at the moment, isn't it?

Robert> UNIX *badly* needs a common config file format, and we might
Robert> as well start now.

The really big problem is all of the knowledge in people's brains, not
to mention books and help files.  Changing something as widely used
as, I don't know, /etc/hosts or DNS zone files (both excellent
candidates for XML) is going to have to overcome *enormous* inertia.

Robert> And, I daresay, sendmail.cf could be XML'd rather
Robert> simply. Seeing as XML would be able to store random line noise
Robert> quite effectively, storing a sendmail.cf wouldn't be too far
Robert> from that. :)

Robert> (seriously - store the sendmail.m4 metadata)

Unfortunately some people *need* the complete config file to configure
sendmail for their systems: see Wichert's recent posting.  I don't see
much point in having `XML' files that look like this:


Mind you, that would be better than nothing, I suppose.  I dearly,
dearly hope something comes of this.

 Robin Stephenson
 Offer Void Where Prohibited

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