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Re: Proposed handling of generated configuration files (Re: stop the "manage with debconf" madness)

* Tore Anderson

 >>  I see your problem when you insist on asking on asking all questions
 >>  at the configure stage -- personally, I don't think delaying the actual
 >>  generating of the configuration file (and asking the question about
 >>  overwriting the old file) to the postinst stage is *that* bad.

* Matt Zimmerman

 > This is the sort of input that I was soliciting.  Personally, I think that
 > preconfiguration is very important, since it _greatly_ simplifies initial
 > installation and upgrades (where a large number of questions are asked) and
 > allows the rest of the installation to proceed unattended in the absence of
 > errors.

  I fully agree that as many questions as possible should be asked before
 unpacking the package.  And I also agree it would better if the "replace
 the configuration file" questions also came at that point of the upgrade,
 but unfortunately, that isn't the status quo.

  dpkg asks for permission to overwrite conffiles *after* having unpacked
 the package in question -- and therefore you cannot dist-upgrade 300
 packages, answer all questions, then take lunch and expect it to be
 finished when you're back.  The upgrade will most likely stop after
 unpacking a package with a new conffile.

  As you probably know, preconfiguration is handled by apt-extracttemplates,
 while the conffile mechanism is dpkg's turf.  Therefore it would require
 major changes to apt/dpkg to make those conffile questions appear at the
 same time as all the other questions asked by apt-extracttemplates.  I
 don't see that change happening in the near future.

  So, where does that leave us?  dpkg's "Can I overwrite this conffile?"
 questions are asked some time between the package is unpacked and the
 postinst is started.  ucf's equivalent questions is asked in the
 postinst, which of course is slightly later in the process, but I
 highly doubt that a regular user would notice any difference.

  Hence, as ucf isn't especially worse than dpkg itself when it comes
 to interrupting upgrades after apt-extracttemplates has preconfigured
 packages, I don't think ucf's prompt in the postinst is that much of
 a problem.  YMMV.

Tore Anderson

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