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

On Tue, Jun 25, 2002 at 12:43:35PM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> >>"Anthony" == Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:
>  Anthony> Is there some reason why this has to be discussed as "You
>  Anthony> are violating policy, therefore you are evil and
>  Anthony> irresponsible, and you must rectify your behaviour
>  Anthony> immediately", rather than "Your package behaves badly <in
>  Anthony> this situation>, and might be improved by something like
>  Anthony> <this>. What do you think?"
>  Because some people use that phrase as a short cut for "This
>  has been discused in the past, and after eons of debate, we came up
>  with best practices rules,and decided on characteristics of the
>  distribution that added value to our users, allowed better
>  integration, and otherwise has been through man many man hours of
>  discussion, design, and debate, and you had better come up with good,
>  solid, technical reasons to justify infractions, since lots of these
>  have already been seen, and dismisssed whiule we were debating this
>  the first or the second time around"

Well, if you spent so many hours of discussion, design and debate,
you probably should've stumbled on some good technical justifications
at some point. Let me give you an example:

	"Packages should support admins modifying their config files by
	 hand, since admins often have to do that to make programs work
	 properly/better on their system, so losing those changes will
	 tend to break the programs on their system."

That doesn't seem much harder to say than:

	"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: [...]"

(the latter is from Steve Greenland's email)

More importantly, the first way allows you to understand the principle
at work, and lets you come up with useful compromises in the case where
you're trying to achieve some other goal. In this case:

	"It should be easy to configure programs, even ones with complex
	 config file syntaxes (thanks upstream!)."

Personally, I think Steve's exception, although it does let you do both
things, is pretty revolting. YMMV. :-/

> 	Note that my writings (well, I was the one filing the bug,
>  so I feel like this may have been directed at me) have not been
>  brandishing the policy stick.

Sure. And just saying "See policy section <foo>" is a fine thing to
do in any case. But that's just a reference so the maintainer can get
clued in to what you're talking about, it's not the reason why s/he
should do what you say, and why you don't need to offer any technical
justification yourself.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

     ``BAM! Science triumphs again!'' 
                    -- http://www.angryflower.com/vegeta.gif

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