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postgresql and debconf [Re: package and dpkg improvements to help autoinstallers]

On Tue, 2002-07-30 at 03:02, Bdale Garbee wrote:
> chewie@wookimus.net (Chad C. Walstrom) writes:
> > The biggest stumbling blocks we see are issues with package.{pre,post}
> > {inst,rm} scripts that don't understand the idea of "noninteractive"
> > installation.  
> Does anyone have a list of the packages that are real problems in this regard?

postgresql does not yet use debconf.  I don't know how many people try
to install it automatically.

The major issue is that postgresql's upgrade procedure (from one
upstream release to the next) normally involves dumping the database,
destroying and recreating it, and reloading the schemas and data from
the dump.  The dangers to data of letting this be handled automatically
are obvious, particularly where the database is very large.  

Though I have tried to make the process as smooth as possible, it is
still necessary for a human installer to verify that the data dump has
succeeded before the package postinst can safely proceed with the
upgrade.  This necessitates non-debconf questions during the postinst
(but only when a database upgrade is necessary).  Because of this, I
have seen no point in changing the rest of the installation to use

I would welcome ideas on how to improve this procedure.

The issues are:

1. The ideal is for the upgrade to proceed automatically and end up with
a working database without user intervention.

2. No solution that may threaten the integrity of data is acceptable.

3. The procedure for dumping the database may cause available disk space
to be used up (database directory, backup copy of the database
directory, pg_dumpall output), or other unexpected problems may make the
dump unusable, in which case the database upgrade must not proceed.

Oliver Elphick                                Oliver.Elphick@lfix.co.uk
Isle of Wight, UK                            
GPG: 1024D/3E1D0C1C: CA12 09E0 E8D5 8870 5839  932A 614D 4C34 3E1D 0C1C
     "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in 
      burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the 
      voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than 
      sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."      
                                     I Samuel 15:22 

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