XML & scripts
and HTML.) Whether that's *wise* or not is another matter.
More generally, I agree with the camp that says config files should
be as simple as possible. But one of the few remaining valid criticisms
of Linux is that simply identifying all configuration files you must
edit for routine tasks can be daunting. Actually making the correct
changes is even something that even experts will occasionally screw
up. That's why my earlier example crossed several traditional config
file boundaries; new users and admins don't care about the distinctions
between /etc/ftpusers and /etc/ftp.deny, they want something close to
the Windows registry.
Creating a Linux registry with postgres is a bad idea for reasons
already discussed. Storing the same information in XML, where an
administrator can check (most) of the content with any standard
web browser and standard SGML tools can be used to generate the
historic data files for legacy programs *may* have some drawbacks, but
it also has a lot of potential.
But I defintely don't buy the "Unix will always have /etc/passwd"
argument. /etc/passwd *has* been changed over the years. (/etc/shadow
was pulled out, NIS added the "+::::::" line, etc.). This is a far
bigger change than before, but most Linux systems offer far more
services than my college-era BSD 4.2 system.
(on an unrelated note, is the mail server slow? I sent my first
response after seeing only 2 comments, yet the echo didn't occur
until *way* later.)