[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: stop abusing debconf already

On 19-Apr-03, 11:44 (CDT), David B Harris <david@eelf.ddts.net> wrote: 
> From debconf-devel(8): "low: Very trivial items that have defaults that
> will work in the vast majority of cases; oinly control freaks see
> these."

>From Debian policy, 11.7.3, regarding how to achieve the requirement of
not overwriting maintainer changes:

"The easy way to achieve this behavior is to make the configuration file
a conffile. This is appropriate only if it is possible to distribute a
default version that will work for most installations, although some
system administrators may choose to modify it. This implies that the
default version will be part of the package distribution, and must not
be modified by the maintainer scripts during installation (or at any
other time)."

When I wrote this, and it was approved, I believe the intent was that
the conffile mechanism be used unless a package configuration did not
meet the requirement regarding "acceptable defaults". The unfortunate
phrase "This is appropriate *only* if..." is there because at the time,
the problem was with people modifying conffiles, rather than not using
conffiles. Now that the pendulum has swung the other way, perhaps we
need to rephrase it, to make it clear that conffiles are the preferred

If you have a package that is asking only medium and lower priority
debconf questions, then debconf should not be used at all. Those
priorities *exist* because there are packages that have a high-priority,
non-defaultable question, and once you've broken the conffile system,
you might as well include those questions. Perhaps it was a bad
idea. Another use for those lower priorities is for notes to the
admin. I contend that this second use *is* a bad idea, because the
common implementation is to NOT include the same information under
/usr/share/doc/<pkg>, and thus those of us who have low and medium
priority turned off lose that info.


Steve Greenland
    The irony is that Bill Gates claims to be making a stable operating
    system and Linus Torvalds claims to be trying to take over the
    world.       -- seen on the net

Reply to: