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Re: stop the "manage with debconf" madness

On Fri, 2003-04-18 at 10:28, Steve Greenland wrote:

> > I propose a different solution to this problem, which conforms much more
> > with policy, while still allowing debconf to be used as much as
> > possible.
> But that's not the solution.

Yep, I agree completely.  So let's talk about solutions.  One might be
to create a third class of configuration files; let's call them "managed
configuration files".

Now, managed configfiles can either be conffiles (i.e. included in the
package) or configuration files.  The key difference is that the admin
has full, standardized control over how packages can overwrite these
files.  For example, we'd have files /etc/conffiles/managed and

The /etc/conffiles/managed file would itself be a conffile that would
list which configuration files a package can freely overwrite.  If the
configuration file is a conffile, then dpkg will never prompt even if
the file is locally modified; it will just replace it.  If it's a
configuration file, then the package is free to overwrite any changes in
its postinst.  I know for sure on my system I'd put all the X keymaps
and TeX stuff in here.  (Hm, we should probably support globs in this

Likewise, /etc/conffiles/unmanaged is a list of files that should
explicitly never be overwritten by packages.

Oh, and we'll want a file like /etc/conffiles/default, which says how to
handle config files not in either list above.  Obviously, I think Debian
should default to config files being unmanaged.  But if we end up
implementing something like this, I might consider making the default to
be managed for Debian Desktop.  Or at least have a prompt about it.

We'd need a few new tools in (say) dpkg for packages to use to determine
whether or not a file is managed and stuff, but that's all mostly

Now, we can handle the two cases I posted; Hardcore Unix guy will
install Debian, and can rest secure in the knowledge that his manual
edits to anything in /etc/ will be preserved.  Semi-experienced Newbie
has a choice.  He can explicitly make stuff managed if he wants.

So, opinions?  Yeah, it's kind of gross.  But the way things are now is
far worse.

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