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Re: Bug#150514: Uer maodifications _must_ bre preserved, even is a co-admin said otherwise a few releases ago

On 24-Jun-02, 14:53 (CDT), Gordon Russell <gor@dcs.napier.ac.uk> wrote: 
> On Mon, Jun 24, 2002 at 01:57:36PM -0500, srivasta@acm.org wrote:
> > 	But you don't. You retrieve the information from debconf,
> > 	where it had been set at some point in the potentially remote
> >  past by someone else. Had you been asking everytime, this would not
> >  be an issue.
> Yes I agree that this seems in breach of Policy. The Policy also goes
> on to say something about not asking questions on an upgrade. I disagree
> with your philosophy that debian=multi-user and thus system administration
> is an uncontrolled multi-user activity. This is not sensible as a procedure,

Wrong. Regardless of your opinion of other people's administration
procedures, if you overwrite a user modified file under /etc/ without
asking you are in violation of policy, and it is basically unacceptable.
I'll offer one exception: if the file is very clearly marked as being overwritable, and is offers a clear, easy way to remove the possibility of being automatically modified, then I think that's a generally accepted procedure:

    # This file is currently being re-generated from the answers stored in
    # debconf. If you modify this file directly, your changes will be
    # overwritten unless you remove the line containing I_BELONG_TO_DEBCONF.

> and I will not go out of my way to support uncontrolled system administration
> where the administrators do not know what they are doing and do not talk to
> each other.

It's not just a matter of admins not talking to each other. If I install
stable, and then a year later modify /etc/foo.conf, and then a year after
that upgrade to the new stable version, I am unlikely to remember that
2 years ago I said "okay" to your debconf question.

> To be honest there is a lot of truth is what you say, but I am sure that the
> users will not want a debconf question every time (can be done by setting
> priority high in the debconf question).

I don't want a debconf question every time. I don't want you to
overwrite my files, either. Debconf is a way to get original
configuration information on the initial install, but editing the config
file by hand must take precedence.

>> [Copying config files between machines.]
> /etc is local for each machine by definition.

Really? You mean I can't copy around my /etc/resolv.conf? Or
/etc/ntp.conf? Or /etc/printcap? It will break the system? Gee, I didn't
know that. I suspect it will be news to a lot of sysadmins.

> >  update/configure scripts iff  the config file does not already
> >  exist. 
> Yes, and quite honestly I do not understand this.

Because you're not supposed to fsck with an admins changes without
asking. That's what policy says, and that's what a great many of expect,
and the ability to rely on such behaviour is why a great many of us
prefer Debian to Redhat. 

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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