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Re: graphical apt, trials and tribulations

On Wed, May 22, 2002 at 09:33:03AM -0400, Sean Middleditch wrote:
> On Wed, 2002-05-22 at 09:23, Colin Watson wrote:
> > Technically speaking, debconf was only even permitted by policy as of
> > earlier this release cycle. It's a bit early to mandate it yet. (And
> > lintian is unlikely to be able to spot packages that don't use it at all
> > reliably, I should think ...)
> Hmm, was unware of the debconf this.  But, early this release cycle...
> doesn't that mean 2 years ago?  ~,^


debian-policy ( unstable; urgency=low

  * [AMENDMENT 2000/12/26] allow/document use of Debian Configuration
    management system (debconf)                     closes: Bug#80347

 -- Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org>  Sun, 28 Jan 2001 21:59:16 -0600

Still, I think it would have been quite unreasonable to allow and then
require debconf in the same release cycle. Also, the policy people are
generally unwilling to make lots of packages instantly buggy; you'll
have to convince maintainers to use debconf and then make it mandatory,
not the other way round.

> Also, I'd suspect Lintian could easily detect at least the standard
> shell commands for user input - things like Exim's running eximconf,
> likely not.  But, better than nothing, no?  Lintian isn't made to be
> 100% failproof,just to really help out (and it does).

The thing is that you'd also have to detect and display output that
pre-debconf packages intended to be seen by the user, and distinguishing
'echo "You want to see this"' from 'echo "config line" > /etc/foo.conf'
is non-trivial in general. I suspect a lintian check along these lines
would trigger a lot of false positives and complaints.

Of course, the existing debconf checks are incomplete (they don't really
check Perl debconf scripts much), and there haven't been many objections
to those, so I could be wrong.

> > Isn't it possible to pop up a terminal-like widget? It doesn't have to
> > be an actual terminal, just something that can display output and accept
> > input.
> Although I assume Seth can do just this, that's ugly as hell for the
> users.  I do not at all want to start up a distro flamewar, but... "all
> the other distros don't need terminal windows in their updaters."

The last time I used an RPM-based distribution, its packages asked no
configuration questions whatsoever. Is this still true? If so, it's
probably not a fair comparison.

Colin Watson                                  [cjwatson@flatline.org.uk]

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