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Re: PROPOSAL: automatic installation and configuration

> > I'm wondering why in years of debate a solution has never been found.
> We've had a configuration management proposal since last fall, the one
> Wichert Akkerman put together (http://www.debian.org/~wakkerma/config6/)
> It's worth noting that proposal has a lot of features these don't, including
> pre-installation configuration (so you don't have to answer questions all
> during the install), the ability to merge multiple databases (so you have a
> master db on one machine, and a secondary database on another machine that
> uses the master db as a read-only resource and stores modifications local to
> the second machine (such as hostname)), and the ability to add a "go
> back" button to a configuration screen so the user can jump back the the
> previous question.
> But Adam's words are wise.

I had a look at Wichert Akkerman proposal. It looks nice but a little more
complicated that mine and it seems not yet working. It requires also many
software components installed (database clients, etc.) and a database
server running somewhere. My idea was implemented using only base commands
(bash, awk, sed) and flat files, so it is simpler, more portable and already
usable on a base system.

Some of the missing features you mentioned are already available in my
proposal: pre-installation configuration can be done by editing the config
files and creating host specific overrides. The ability to merge multiple
databases can be emulated by reading in sequence different config files at
various level (debian, site, host, package, updates). Also the creation of 
a local file containing only the changes is already there.

Akkerman's proposal seems good as a general configuration manager but
requires a lot of work and extensive changes to existing packages.
My proposal has much more limited goals but is also easier to implement.

The same arguments apply to all recent proposals to use XML, configuration
parsers, hierarchies of config directories and files, etc.
All nice ideas but not trivial to implement and probably not worth the work.
Consider also that some packages already have their private config files and
adding also an XML version of the same data would duplicate the task of
managing configurations.

Massimo Dal Zotto

|  Massimo Dal Zotto               email: dz@cs.unitn.it               |
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|  38057 Pergine Valsugana (TN)      www: http://www.cs.unitn.it/~dz/  |
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