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Re: Debconf or not debconf : Conclusion

On Fri, Jul 04, 2003 at 11:06:36PM -0500, Steve Langasek wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 04, 2003 at 12:18:33AM -0400, Theodore Ts'o wrote:
> > On a separate but related topic, I think a much better approach would
> > be to handle configuration as a step entirely separate from the
> > install phase.  Let the install be entirely quiet, and let packages
> > have intelligent defaults.  If the package absolutely must be
> > configured before it can be used, then let it be non-functional until
> > someone actually calls dpkg-configure (which would be just like
> > dpkg-reconfigure except that's the only time the questions would be
> > asked).
> I don't see how this would be much of an improvement.  

It means that you don't have to sit through the unpacking and postinst
phases, which can be quite tedious.

> If dpkg-configure is
> called separately, how does the admin know when there are packages for
> which it should be called?  And if the admin is automatically notified
> of this, why is this better than simply calling dpkg-configure then and
> there?

Three possibilities:

	dpkg-configure *.deb; dpkg -i *.deb
	for a in *.deb; do dpkg -i $a; dpkg-configure $a; done
	dpkg -i *.deb; dpkg-configure --pending --all

The point of decoupling installation and configuration is to let the admin
choose which of these scenarios happen, instead of the distribution or
the maintainer. The first is appropriate if you're doing installs of many
systems (work out how you want it to look, then slam it onto all of them
automatically), the second if you're doing an upgrade from aptitude, and
the third if you've blatted a standard install from a magazine cover-CD
and need to do some final configuration.

The original theory was for debconf to make these choices possible (since
it was vastly difficult to do it in the days of "echo" and "read blah").


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

       ``Is this some kind of psych test?
                      Am I getting paid for this?''

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