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

David Welton <davidw@master.debian.org> writes:

> The other problem with XML is that it is static - there are some
> config files that include little languages, with conditionals, loops,
> etc..  For this reason, something like scheme would probably work well
> - it's very easy to parse and deal with, but you can code in it if
> need be.

Not only that, but you have a full language upon which the user can
build their own abstractions.  So I can whip up a macro for defining
my favorite flavor of samba export, and then define a bunch of that
flavor very easily.  Complex config files will be easier to simplify
thru macros and functional abstractions.

You do not want to limit the expressiveness of any of the
configuration languages, and force them all to be the same.  I see no
real advantage to a forced syntactic form, when your semantics are so
varied.  The advantage of the scheme mechanism is that while you would
be providing a simple syntactic form, it is highly mutable at the same
time, and does not limit the expressive power of the configuration
language.  Scheme is excellent for developing mini application
specific laguages which when documented are very easy for people to

At the same time, while I would love it myself, I could never advocate
a scheme regime of the config file.  I could not advocate any
unification of config file formats.  It's ludicrous to think that even
at the syntactic level you can come up with a satisfactory
representation for all of the different programs out there.

Craig Brozefsky        <craig@red-bean.com>
Less matter, more form!      - Bruno Schulz
ignazz, I am truly korrupted by yore sinful tzourceware. -jb
The Osmonds! You are all Osmonds!! Throwing up on a freeway at dawn!!!

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