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Re: PROPOSAL: automatic installation and configuration

> Massimo Dal Zotto <dz@cs.unitn.it> writes:
> > The advantage of my tool, or any similar solution, is that the changes
> > are very small and limited only to the installation scripts. The only
> > changes required are substituting code like this:
> > 
> >     print message
> >     print -n prompt; read answer
> > 
> > with:
> > 
> >     answer=$(dpkg-getconfig PKG_VARNAME --message message --prompt prompt)
> > 
> > The installation script doesn't need to be aware that the value is read from
> > a database, it just asks a question and gets an answer. But if the answer
> > is asked directly to the user we can't get a chance to store or read it
> > in a database, so the scripts must be changed.
> Also a disadvantage.  You don't really have any namespaces defined, or
> any heirarchy or method for shared configuration (i.e., ask for my
> news server, unless it's already be ask for before).

My proposal was that each package has his own namespace, with names like
<PACKAGE>_<VARNAME>. A global namespace CONFIG must be defined for common
variables, like hostname, newsserver, etc., and these names must obviously
be discussed in advance by all developers.

Anyway if each package still asks its own <PACKAGE>_NEWSSERVER the user is
not annoyed more than in the current installation, but we have a chance to
record and replay his answers. Better than nothing.

> However, I do prefer the small hack which actually implemented to the
> ideal hack which has been debated for years and never implemented.

I'm wondering why in years of debate a solution has never been found. It
seems to me that the debian installations is targeted to hard hackers or
computer masochists.

> > If this change in policy would be approved it would take a few days or weeks
> > to modify all the installation scripts.
> [...]
> > I would really prefer to have the next freeze delayed of a few weeks rather
> > than having to make another totally manual mass installation.
> This is totally naieve. There is no way we could have a complete
> transition in 1999 -- period.  It's just not going to happen, mark my
> words.

How many packages are owned by a maintainer? And what time does it take to
modify his 3-10 install scripts? One hour? One day? At most one week.

> I just hope we have some partial transition in 1999 (maybe "mostly
> complete" for post-potato).

A partial transition would be better than nothing. The important thing now
is to decide if we need automatic installation or not. If we need it we
shouldn't wait any more.

Massimo Dal Zotto

|  Massimo Dal Zotto               email: dz@cs.unitn.it               |
|  Via Marconi, 141                phone: ++39-0461534251              |
|  38057 Pergine Valsugana (TN)      www: http://www.cs.unitn.it/~dz/  |
|  Italy                             pgp: finger dz@tango.cs.unitn.it  |

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