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Re: [custom] Custom Debian Distros need the help from debian developers

Enrico Zini wrote:
>>One of the obvious things that got asked multiple but that none of the
>>'keep debconf promt'ers answered is: Why is it critical for you to have
>>these defaults done with debconf as opposed to customizing config files?

>>>The alternative is to replace or edit other packages files, and this
>>>is error prone and hard to do within the current policy.

> I should recall that Custom Debians are about creating a pre-configured,
> 100%-true-debian-and-policy-compliant distribution.

Nontheless it should be your goal to get policy adjusted to your needs
not to encourage behaviour currently questionable.

I don't quite see how a distribution is "policy compliant" as opposed to
the shipped packages being policy compliant. In my reading of the
policy, the installation program can basically do anything it desires.
I can see that you aren't allowed to just have packages messing around
with the configuration files of other packages, but surely that isn't
the only way to do customization.

> The best solution Custom Debians came up so far to address this issue is
> to pre-seed hidden debconf questions, which are set to priorities so low
> that they never get asked.
Yeah, but low is not the priority never asked.
If you absolutely want to go with preseeded debconf values, maybe you
could ask Joey to allocate a priority "invisible" (or whatever you want
to call it) that is exclusively used to do CDD configuration where, as
in the case of NTP, prompting *a user* is completely unneccessary.
(I only searched the debconf bug list for "priority", so I'm not certain
that you didn't.)

> This is so far the best way for a package to customize others for
> special environments.  Everyone reckons this is not optimal, but it's
> the best that's been found, it requires no policy changes and little
> effort from packagers.

It requires that package maintainers disregard a publicly stated and
more or less accepted best packaging practice.

> I'm more and more convinced that common Custom Debian problems need a
> bit of rationalization, structure, examples and communication to the
> rest of the community.

The thing that really disturbed me about the discussion is that the
subject and introduction of Petter's mail suggested that package
maintainers are unwilling to cooperate when they're only trying to reach
policy goals (and minimization of user interaction is an eplicit goal in
If you CDD guys (presently) need debconf for purposes other than user
interaction (and again, I would not have any problem with that), you
need to propose a way to do this and not whine about people cutting out
debconf where user interaction is not needed.


Thomas Viehmann, <http://beamnet.de/tv/>

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