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Re: Policy wrt conf files

On Tue, Jun 25, 2002 at 12:13:42AM -0300, Henrique de Moraes Holschuh wrote:
> On Mon, 24 Jun 2002, Gordon Russell wrote:
> > Looking at the Policy, specifically 11.7, suggests a strict idea of what
> [...]
> >  (a) the policy states that the conf file can be overwritten by the postinst
> >      file of a package if the user is asked if this is ok. Can I ask the
> >      question once, and remember the answer every time the package is
> >      updated, or must I ask the question every time (which seems onerous
> >      to me and defeats the idea behing debconf).

Let me clarify setserial - it does not ship with /etc/serial.conf, and
it is not listed as a conffile. It is dynamically generated and managed
by the installation scripts. It is also maintained by 
/etc/init.d/setserial, which may change this file depending on the user's
configuration as recorded via debconf. It is possible to say in debconf that
no changes should be made, and I argue that this is how I support user-based

> Now, configuration files (i.e. anything in /etc) are another matter. You can
> have a question asking for permission to modify it.  But that means the file
> must not be marked as a conffile in the deb, which in turn means it must not
> be in /etc.  You can even modify it with no questions at all, as long as you
> preserve any changes made by the user by direct editing that file.

If it is a configuration file in /etc you say it cannot be in /etc. Is this
not a contradiction? It is not marked as a conffile. If this really means that
I cannot put the file in etc where should it go? I really recommend caution
here, as Debian is in danger of having a completely different setup from
all other linux configurations. For instance, where is modules.conf to go?
There must be a 100 books by now which indicate that it lives in /etc...

> >  (b) provided I have a scheme for allowing user changes to override
> >      automatic when-required configuration of the serial.conf file, and
> >      that when the user makes changes to serial.conf in the proper way
> >      the changes are preserved, then I satisfy policy.
> As long as serial.conf is not a conffile. This means you cannot ship
> /etc/serial.conf inside the deb at all. You will have to "generate it" at
> postinst time, if you want it to be just a configuration file and not a
> conffile.

This is not in the Policy document, as it says that ANY user changes (even
ones not done in the way the particular package allows users to make
changes) are preserved. IMHO the Policy should read that user changes
made using the package-supported mechanism must be preserved.

> >  (c) I am allowed to make changes to my own configuration file provided
> >      that I satisfy the packages own rules of supporting user changes to
> >      the file.
> That's correct. But do remember: conffiles are configuration files.
> Configuration files *might* be conffiles. They are not interchangeable terms
> :-)

Then (c) needs to be clearly stated in the policy document. I have reached an
impass over this issue with a bug submitter.


Gordon Russell
PGP Public Key - http://www.dcs.napier.ac.uk/~gor/pgpkey.txt

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