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

Sorry I'm replying to this almost two weeks after fact but I've been
traveling recently but definitely wanted to weigh in on this topic.

On Sun, Feb 15, 2004 at 10:04:01AM +0100, Petter Reinholdtsen wrote:
> The issue provoking this email is the new ntp packages, removing the
> code we got added to be able to install the package with correct
> configuration.  But I suspect there is a broader issue here.  I
> experence that some debian developers do not even understand the point
> of making the package automatically configurable at install time using
> debconf pre-seeding.
> In Debian Edu, we believe debconf pre-seeding is the only sensible way
> to do this in a way that all CDDs can benefit, and the only way that
> is expected to avoid most upgrade problems.  The alternative is to
> replace or edit other packages files, and this is error prone and hard
> to do within the current policy.

Debian-Nonprofit is currently benefiting from the legwork that
Debian-Edu has done in adding the ability to customize packages in a
number of important ways through the addition of low-priority Debconf
questions. Outside of package specific examples, the ability to work
toward custom configurations from fully within the Debian framework is
IMHO *the* single largest problem faced by CDDs and the addition of
low-priority questions is (again, IMHO) by far the best and most
elegant solution to this problem.

Basically, I sympathizes with Petter in his frustration and agree with
Enrico in his evaluation of the problem and proposed plan of action:
the CDD folks among us need to finish writing up some good
documentation explaining the CDD philosophy and then we need to get
the word out on d-d-a and, eventually, into places like the developer
reference and policy (as Thomas suggested).

On Sun, Feb 15, 2004 at 02:28:26PM +0100, Thomas Viehmann wrote:
> AFAICT debconf is intended and presently advocated as a way to
> prompt for defaults if they are absolutely needed. Specifically, it
> is not intended as a way to store stuff.

It seems clear to me that this is why we have different
priorities. While Petter's example code for the creating debconf
questions that are checked for defaults but never asked is a good
idea, I don't really understand why we don't have the *lowest*
priority Debconf question be pretty much the "you get what you asked
for" priority level. People that *really* want to be bothered by every
possible debconf configuration should be to have that option I
suppose. People that don't (which it goes without saying should be the
default configuration) should not (and currently do not) have to.


Benjamin Mako Hill

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