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Re: Little things make the initial install experience painful

On 20-Jun-02, 09:22 (CDT), Scott Dier <dieman@ringworld.org> wrote: 
> Steve Greenland wrote:
> >Fourthly, if you can specify a reasonable default, don't ask at all.
> I disagree, use the lowest debconf priority for these sorts of 
> questions.

The problem with asking questions in debconf and then writing a
configuration file based on them is that means you can't use the
conffile mechanism to manage upstream changes in the configuration
file, which is a HUGE loss for the user. Now, if you're already using
debconf, because shipping a a default conffile is not suitable, then
adding low-priority quesitons is reasonable. But if the choice is
between shipping a usable default configuration or using a low-priority
template, you should just ship the default. (Note that the choice is
*not* between a default configuration and a high-priority template: if
you can make a reasonable default choice, then it's ipso-facton not

> Unattended installs are fine because people like me preload 
> the debconf database before anything gets installed and then use the 
> noninteractive frontend.

Who said anything about unattended installs? I'm talking about the poor
newbie doing her first install and having to wade through a bunch of
fine-tuning that she can't, as yet, have an opinion about.

> If you dont like debconf at all, use noninteractive.

I like debconf. I don't like the amount of trivia some maintainers want
to force the user to deal with, rather than just picking a reasonable
default. It's a copout.

> I like all the questions, especially if its to maintain some config
> file that a maintainer decided to make it a PITA to maintain outside
> of debconf

And that's a bug.

> or to make it eaiser between package upgrades with differing config
> file formats.

It doesn't really solve the problem, as there is NO guarantee that
what's in the debconf database has anything to do with what's in
the configuration file. The program should provide tools to upgrade
properly, or just bite the bullet and document the "by-hand" upgrade.


Steve Greenland

    The irony is that Bill Gates claims to be making a stable operating
    system and Linus Torvalds claims to be trying to take over the
    world.       -- seen on the net

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