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Re: stop abusing debconf already

On Sat, Apr 19, 2003 at 11:03:03AM -0400, Joey Hess wrote:
> Denis Barbier wrote:
> > On Fri, Apr 18, 2003 at 07:14:19PM -0400, Joey Hess wrote:
> > > Enough already.
> > > 
> > > Folks, if you don't stop abusing debconf with useless notes that belong
> > > in README.Debian and config file overwriting, I will stop maintaining
> > > it. 
> > > 
> > > Stop slapping incorrect uses of debconf in everywhere. Feel free to run
> > > any package using debconf by me before you upload it, or take the time
> > > to understand yourself how things should work.
> > 
> > I do not understand exactly what is good and bad use of debconf.
> > For instance all questions asked by the debconf package have good default
> > values, so there is no reason to prompt user, a configuration file is
> > enough.  So what am I missing?
> The only reasons debconf itself asks those questions still are:
> - example of how debconf works
> - they _are_ overridable with the config file, in an appropriate way
> - it's not asked at new installs anyway
> - people are used to that
> I did have some bad ideas about how debconf could be used back years ago
> when I wrote it. Those debconf questions (and some really ill-advised
> stuff slrn used to do) were the result.

I hope my understanding of the big picture has been seriously improved.
Honestly you should not be so upset by these debconf abuses about
configuration files overwriting, this is a difficult issue and AFAICT
documentation does not help.
IMO debconf itself could be a better example.  Currently configuration
items can indeed be overridden in debconf.conf, but its parsing is
performed by debconf itself, so other packages cannot reproduce the same
As you explained, they have to parse their configuration files and set
updated question values, in order not to lose user changes.  Debconf
has a different behavior when configuring itself, it does not update
question values with those found in debconf.conf.  To be a truly useful
example, it could also overwrite its own configuration file in order
to show how to do it right.


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