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Re: /etc/mailname

On Tue, Mar 26, 2002 at 11:38:32AM -0500, Brian Mays wrote:

> > > Which doesn't mean that it wouldn't be useful if it were so [except
> > > where it doesn't make sense of course].

> > Usefulness must be balanced with practicality.  When considering a
> > configuration file that is used by a library, which is used by several
> > applications, it makes sense that the configuration file is owned by
> > the package containing the library.  To add an entire package for a
> > lone configuration file, simply so that "dpkg -S" returns a result, is
> > silly.

> > Making a file such as this a conffile means that one package now
> > owns the file, and thus, no other package can modify it in its
> > packaging script.

christophe barbé replied:

> And ? It seems pretty reasonnable that only one package manage this
> file. Do you have an example where this file needs to be modified by
> more than one package ?

Sure.  Current practice is a fine example.  The current system works.
Do you dispute that?

> > Well, as you have discovered, you were incorrect.  Don't worry, it
> > is a common misconception.

> What you call 'common misconception' was a feature from my point of
> view.

Your opinion is irrelevant.  The truth is that Debian has several files
(many of which are very important) that are "owned" by no package (i.e.,
owned in the sense of showing up in the output of "dpkg -S").  In a
sense, these packages can be considered to be owned by several packages
or the entire system as a whole.

> I agree that a manpage could be packaged with others.

> When there's no manpage, users search in the package files. You can
> try to forget it, but this is a fact.
> Is this a distribution for users ?

So?  The reasonable solution is to add a man page.  That, IMHO, is doing
the greatest service for the users.

> > > I would said : what is it with "NOT owning stuff"? Why not a package
> > > like the proposed mta-common ?

> > Why not?  Because it is not necessary.

> Funny. You have so much great reasons.

I can say the same of you.  After all, *you* are the one proposing a
change.  The burden of advocacy is on you.  It is clear that things work
perfectly well as it is.  Why should we change the way things are done?

The only "reason" you give is a silly demand that all files show up in
the output of "dpkg -S".  Many developers, including myself, don't think
that this is a sufficient reason, and besides, this could be
accomplished by means other than providing an additional package
containing a single conffile, which I might mention has no default
content (i.e., it would need to be generated upon installation anyhow).

So, again I ask.  What useful purpose does this serve?

> > I have already addressed the problems with ownership above.

> You believe that you have addressed a problem that you have not even
> described.

Okay.  I shall describe the problem now.  You are talking about a file
that must be generated at install time.  Currently, this is done in
several packages (and the installation procedure), but since this
process is trivial, it can easily be coordinated between these packages.
To change this as you propose, we shall have to (1) add a new package
and (2) modify all of the existing packages that use this file to
conform with policy.  These certainly are problems or, at least, they
are an inconvenience.  What have we gained for this trouble?

- Brian

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