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Deconf and shared questions


        Now that the focus is turning onto debconf'ing packages, I am
 going to ask a question that has been plaguing me whenever I start
 thinking about debconfing some of my packages.

	I have at least two packages now (dist and mailagent) that can
 use, and thus care about, the organization as recorded in
 /etc/news/organization. (Note that neither is a NNTP client or server
 or a MUA). A third, Gnus, also should use the value contained

	I am sure there must be any number of news servers, NNTP
 clients, etc, that also care for the value in /etc/new/organization,
 and arrange for that file to be created, though I have no idea how
 many there are, or which packages do so care.

	At this point, in the postinst, the packages check to see if
 /etc/news/organization exists, or, if not, ask the user and create

	Given that the check is done before asking any question in the
 postinst, if you do install all three of the packages, the first one
 whose postinst runs shall ask the question, and create the file;
 subsequently, the other packages won't ask the question, since the
 file /etc/news/organization shall exist. So the user is only asked

	Now, if all these packages use debconf, and they all
 preconfigure, then when the preconfiguration is run, the file does
 not exist -- and thus all the packages in question shall query the
 user -- bombarding the installer with multiple versions of the same
 question, over and over again -- unless all the packages use the
 same, shared, variable.

	If there is to be a shared variable, what should the common
 shared toplevel hierarchy be? I don't see all these packages (dist,
 mailagent, Gnus, VM, and other packages) using a common (virtual)
 package name; they are not even close to being similar types of
 packages, and thus do not share a common purpose in general, only for
 this variable.

	The question then becomes: what is this shared variable
 called? How does a package maintainer discover this variable? How are
 updates to common templates made? Does some package "own" this shared
 variable template? Which one? 

	Where is this central registry of shared variablenames, so
 that the next package wanting to create /etc/news/organization can
 use the same variable, and not ask the user yet another duplicate

Gunter's Airborne Discoveries: When you are served a meal aboard an
aircraft, the aircraft will encounter turbulence. The strength of the
turbulence is directly proportional to the temperature of your coffee.
Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024R/C7261095 print CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05  CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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