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Re: Deconf and shared questions

On Fri, Jul 11, 2003 at 01:20:12AM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> 	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
>  once. 

> 	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
>  question. 

I don't think there is a central registry.  I do see a debconf value on
my system named shared/organization; this seems to be a general-purpose
"organization" value, but perhaps it could be used for the contents of
/etc/news/organization as well?

The "shared/" toplevel heirarchy seems to be popular for this sort of
thing, at any rate; even related packages seem likely to use this when
the question doesn't clearly belong to just one of them.

As for owning the template: /all/ of the packages own the template (as
shown by the Owners: field in /var/cache/debconf/config.dat), and must
ship it; or there must be a common package that all others depend on
which owns the question, if including it in multiple packages is seen as
a duplication of effort.  In the absence of strict package dependencies,
though, each package that needs the answer must be prepared to ask for
it separately.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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