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Re: /etc/profile should include sbin in PATH

On Mon, Dec 20, 1999 at 01:56:48PM -0800, Joey Hess wrote:
> Craig Sanders wrote:
> > ok, the symlinks could be in the package but that would constitute
> > a violation of the FHS.
> What chapter and verse?

i have no idea, nor do i care. i have better things to do with my time
than to wade through a standards document hunting for some hint of
anything which can be ripped out of context and used to justify my
position (which is the usual tactic of rules-lawyers and others who wish
to overthrow common sense and applied intelligence and replace them both
with a pedantic and slavishly bureaucratic dedication to "The Rules").

it is certainly a violation of the spirit of the FHS even if the authors
never thought any distribution would be stupid enough to want to violate
it by using symlinks to duplicate binaries into multiple locations.

intelligent people use rules as a guideline, not as a strait-jacket and
not as a substitute for doing their own thinking. if i see someone doing
something stupid or wanting to do something stupid then i am sure as
hell going to call it "stupid" regardless of whether they can dig up
some pedantic rule which they can twist to support their position.

(before you jump off the deep end...No, i am NOT calling you stupid. i
am calling the proposal to move certain binaries from sbin to bin stupid
and short-sighted. even smart people can have stupid ideas occasionally
or get caught up by stupid ideas)

> > > Current situation: People are forced to make local workawounds
> > > like symlinks in /usr/local/bin or PATH modifications that violate
> > > the FHS. We have evidence on this thread that numerous people are
> > > making these types of workarounds.
> >
> > you are over-reacting. neither symlinks in /usr/local/bin nor having
> > the sbin directories in the PATH are FHS violations.
> "users should not have to place any of the sbin directories in their
> path" -- FHS

this says that users should not have to. it doesn't say that having sbin
in the path is wrong or forbidden, it merely says that it is not and
should not be necessary.

> I never said symlinks in /usr/local/bin violated the FHS.

my mistake.  what you wrote could have been read either way.

> > what's the point of having a /sbin or /usr/sbin directory if
> > symlinks are going to be used to put binaries in /bin and /usr/bin
> > as well - may as well go the whole way and just make /sbin -> /bin
> > and /usr/sbin -> /usr/bin
> The point is to use the symlinks as a transition mechanism.

transition mechanism to what? and why? where's the need? where's the
justification for fucking up existing scripts? where is the compelling

debian should not make arbitrary and gratuitous changes like this to the
system. major changes should only be made where the good of the desired
end greatly outweighs the harm caused by the change.

making it slightly easier for end-users to run traceroute or ifconfig is
a paltry "good" compared to the harm of breaking custom written scripts
which expect various binaries to be in the same place they have always
been in debian...it is an even more paltry good when you consider that
any user who really needs to run traceroute or ifconfig regularly can
edit their own PATH or make an alias, or when you consider that the
same aim can be achieved WITHOUT any harm simply by adding the sbin
directories to the default PATH.

this debate is NOT about user convenience. it is about preventing harm.
the fact is that moving those binaries from sbin to bin WILL cause harm.
your proposal just slops some symlink ugliness on top in an attempt to
ameliorate that harm. it would be better not to cause the harm in the
first place than to patch it over with ugliness.

> > huh? since when are any symlinks required by policy? 
> "each package must maintain a symlink /usr/doc/<package>' that points to
> the new location of its documentation in `/usr/share/doc/<package>'"
> 	-- Debian policy

this is merely to enable the transition from /usr/doc to /usr/share/doc
- it hardly compares to requiring that binaries be duplicated via
symlinks into multiple directories.

> > i didn't see any facts in what you wrote. i saw several errors of
> > fact
> You have not disproven a single one of my facts.

if you believe that then you need to read what i wrote again.

> > and opinionated over-reaction.
> Please don't drag personal matters into this.

sorry, but a) i was addressing your claims of fact and your proposal,
not "personal matters" (in fact, i wasn't even aware there was any
"personal matter"), and b) it was you who dragged in an opinionated and
error-ridden rant into this. if you're going to make contentious and
ill-advised proposals then you've got to expect to be called out on


craig sanders

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