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Re: Integrate Knoppix in Debian (was: Re: Debian Enterprise?)

On Sat, Nov 29, 2003 at 07:18:17PM +0100, Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña wrote:
> On Sat, Nov 29, 2003 at 12:38:29PM +0100, Benj. Mako Hill wrote:
> > > The (3) part is not something that debian-desktop will do since it
> > > boils down to modifying, at leisure, the system's configuration
> > > (/etc directly, since there is not a single point of configuration,
> > > debconf is not an option here).

> > I'm not sure you can speak so categorically about this. Skolelinux has,
> > in some ways AUIU, gone this route already. 

> > What we *can* do is find the ways that we, as a custom distribution,
> > want to change the configuration files of other packages and then
> > submit wishlist bugs with patches adding low-priority debconf
> > questions with defaults set to the current behavior. Now the package
> > need never even *ask* those questions!

> However, we are currently viewing debconf as a way to do a _minimum_ 
> configuration of packages. Debconf overuse is usually reported as a bug.

I think most of the objections to "debconf abuse" really fall into two
categories: questions asked at too high of a priority, and use of
debconf on files that should be conffiles instead (because there are
sensible defaults that work for most users).  Adding low-priority
questions would never fall under the first category of debconf abuse,
and the second category is only an issue if the package currently uses

If there are conffiles involved, there are certainly trade-offs to be
weighed.  Maybe the config file doesn't represent a sensible default, so
shouldn't be a conffile.  Maybe the subproject's proposed settings
should be incorporated into the conffile as defaults.  Maybe the
conffile already represents the sensible default, and the subproject
needs to re-evaluate the importance of this particular customization.
Regardless, I don't think this is a new issue arising from the growth of
subprojects, and I don't think it's an insurmountable one, either.

> We don't want to use, as a distribution, a single point of
> configuration like debconf. I might be wrong or things might have
> changed.

I thought consensus was pretty good that we *do* want to have a single,
standardized interface for package configuration wherever possible.
With the exception of essential packages that can't depend on debconf
(but can use it if installed), all interactively-configured packages
that I've installed of late have been fully debconf-based.  I think
we're getting close to the point where policy can be changed to make
debconf a 'must' without rendering packages instantly buggy.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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