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Re: use and abuse of debconf

Joey Hess <joeyh@debian.org> writes:

> It has recently come to my attention that several developers are using
> debconf as an excuse to write a quick hack rather than doing things
> right. In particular I am talking about several packages that use
> debconf to prompt the user for information, then write the information
> to a file in /etc, and when upgraded or reconfigured, clobber any
> manual changes to the file (and no, I'm not just talking about
> lilo).

libnss-ldap is a perfect example.  I reported this behaviour[1] in
version 123-2 (see Bug#78805).  The maintainer's response has been to
upload a version of the package that has reset the question's seen
flag to false.  This, of course, does nothing whatsoever to preserve
local settings of other values, or changes to debconf-prompted

In general, I don't think debconf has any business interfering with a
`once-only' file like lilo.conf and libnss-ldap.conf, or a
system-critical file like libnss-ldap.conf[2] after the initial
installation of the package and answering of questions.


[1] : Actually the file in question was a conffile as well as being
      edited by debconf, but whatever.

[2] : Mistakes in this file make the system unusuable until a reboot
      to single-user mode.
``Banks *are* bastards.'' -- John Laws

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