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Re: Caldera installation - something Debian should learn

On Fri, Apr 23, 1999 at 04:37:47PM -0700, R Garth Wood wrote:
> On Fri, 23 Apr 1999, Jonathan P Tomer wrote:
> > 
> > > To sum up:
> > >  Databases offer:
> > > 	better speed
> > > 	smaller size.
> > > 	other inhereted database properties
> > 
> > i'm not much of a database expert. could you expound these further?
> speed - I think you'll argree with me there
> size - ditto

I think speed is a maybe, but I don't think I would agree with
you on the size.

The reason the text files in /etc seem complex, is because they have a
complex structure to model complex data.  I'd like to see someone
take a general-purpose database tool and try to model the content and
structure of the /etc tree.  I've got over 500 files in mine,
and probably half of them would need their own table in this schema.
This is where the NT registry fails: it's fine for representing
heirarchical data (or would be if it were managed properly,) but
program configuration data is, by definition, n-dimensional.

Don't even bother trying to represent some sort of progamming language
or scripting capablilty. You may as well use Java .class files for that.

If you're going to claim this speed benefit, you're going to have to
build indexes into this database. That's gonna grow your size enormously.
My /etc is 2 MB, probably much less if you strip out all the comments.
Now consider the size of some general-purpose relational database file
with hundreds of tables. I'd bet it'll be at least 10 times that size.

BTW, any programmer who's used a 'lex' tool will tell you that
the code it generates for your configuration-file syntax will output
that ideal binary format you're talking about.  The parsing error
handling requirements will be just the same, except users will have
far less recourse in fixing the problems. Did you see the -user posts
from that guy who's shell scripts wouldn't run because DOS terminated
the lines with CRLF? I think 3 people suggested different ways he
could fix the file with one-liners. How's a mailinglist going to help a
user figure out how to fix a binary file that some program rejects?
We're back to the "oh, the registry's become corrupted, nothing-we-can-do,
better re-install" that the NT users are so familiar with.

I use Debian and NT (not by choice). Text-based configuration and
administration is the primary reason why I do as much as possible in Debian.

- Marsh

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