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

Re: Bug#201023: dosemu: purging doesmu wipes out all user data under /var/lib/dosemu)


On Mon, Jul 14, 2003 at 07:03:22PM -0600, Jamin W. Collins wrote:

> On Tue, Jul 15, 2003 at 02:06:59AM +0200, Emile van Bergen wrote:
> > On Mon, Jul 14, 2003 at 05:45:23PM -0600, Jamin W. Collins wrote:
> > 
> > > What about data file created by the package through its normal
> > > operation.  Such as log directories, or user account files?  Again,
> > > these are created by the application directly, not the user.  Which
> > > category do these fall in.  Since they don't fit the categories
> > > above, should they be left behind on a purge?
> > 
> > Well, for logfiles and similar things I'd say the question of what to
> > do when --purging is a bit less controversial than for category 3.
> > 
> > For files created during normal operation of the package I'd ask
> > myself: is this created by the package on behalf of the user? 
> This is a very fine line.  If the user entered data that is stored in
> the files, is it on behalf of the user and thus user data?  Case in
> point is the Jabber package.  Each user's roster and account are stored
> in spool files.  Should these be deleted on a purge?

It's a hard question. I don't have an answer to that. I can only say
that any data that exists as a result to user creativity and/or action
should be treated with due care and prudence. This may or may not be
true for Jabber spool files.

Again, I think erring on the safe side (in favour of /not/ removing
files containing a result of user input) is more useful, considering the
relative frequencies of the case that you reinstall a package, and that
you abandon use of a package forever and that whatever you entered
looses all use. In the latter case, it's easy to take care of the
remains, being guided by dpkg warnings about non-empty directories.

> > For log files, this does not hold. In most cases those are not the
> > primary output of the tool when operated by the user, but instruments
> > to gather statistics and monitor the tool's operation. I'd expect
> > --purge to delete such files.
> But they are neither conffiles or explicitly part of the package

True, I agree I missed that category. But that doesn't invalidate my
point, which is that data 'belonging' to the user, even if hard to
define, should be held sacrosanct.

> > It's only user data that should be excluded from --purge, for the
> > simple reason that there should be nothing holier to a computer
> > program than user data.
> And "user data" can be defined in a multitude of different ways.  I'm
> sure to someone out there the spool files the Jabber package creates are
> "user data".  The term sadly is overly general.

If creating spool files is the purpose of the package (it probably
isn't) or a side effect of its use that's useful in other contexts as
well (I don't know), then yes, it's enough 'user data' to avoid deletion
by --purge.

Aside, I think that the notion of ownership by the package of a file is
stronger than it can ever be in case of a directory. A directory is a
generic container and thus never only useful to the package that stores
files there. A file can be only useful to a certain program if it eg.
contains too many implementation details to ever be useful to a human or
another program. But that's an entirely different issue.



E-Advies - Emile van Bergen           emile@e-advies.nl      
tel. +31 (0)70 3906153           http://www.e-advies.nl    

Reply to: