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Re: The art of debconf

On Fri, Apr 28, 2000 at 11:34:11PM -0500, John Goerzen wrote:
> Now, here is the question.  What is the best way to handle a situation where
> a user might both edit the file and use debconf to edit it?  

One way to consider this is a reflection back to the way Microsoft
handles configuration, at least from a user POV, that is, initial
configuration is done with a cute, simple, `wizard', and after that
configuration is generally done just by twiddling settings, or perhaps
by completely ignoring your old setup, and rerunning the wizard to start
from scratch. [0]

I think treating debconf stuff as a wizard is a good way of handling
this, personally. So basically you only run the debconf stuff "once"
(modulo new features) and let /etc/* override whatever those settings
are as necessary.

> Finally, what happens if a person manually tweaks debconf-controlled values
> in a conffile?  Do the manual values take precedence for defaults, or does
> the debconf database?  If the former, is there really a need for a database? 
> If the latter, do we warn the user?

Clearly the answer to this would then be we use the manual values forever,
and the only reason the database needs to be particularly permanent is
to store the fact that we *have* already asked the questions, and to make
life more elegant when dpkg-reconfiguring. That and making it permanent is
the easiest way to keep the data between invoking .config and .postinst.


[0] Which is remarkably analogous to the way we've handled MTA
    configuration since forever, although we didn't have a cute name
    for it.

Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG encrypted mail preferred.

  ``We reject: kings, presidents, and voting.
                 We believe in: rough consensus and working code.''
                                      -- Dave Clark

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