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Right Way to make a configuration package

I am working on creating a package for UserLinux which will configure
several packages with sensible defaults for an authentication server. At
the moment, that means samba, slapd, pam and nss, but will also include
heimdal later on.

My naive question is: is there currently any mechanism for forcing the
user to configure package x from within package y, and/or for
reconfiguring one package based on reconfiguring another?

## warning, verbosity follows ##

Perhaps I'm just approaching this the wrong way, so here is what I am
doing (and where the problem comes in), and if anyone has a suggestion
for a better approach, I would be happy to hear it.

userlinux-auth-server depends on slapd, samba, libpam-ldap, and libnss-

In the postinst, it gets the samba domain name, the dns domain name, and
the ldap master password out of debconf, and populates the necessary

One problem is that the user may not necessarily have ever configured
samba or slapd through debconf. This package needs that info, but it's
not possible to dpkg-reconfigure a package from within the postinst of
another package. So we would have to tell them to manually dpkg-
reconfigure the dependancies and then reinstall, or gather the
information ourselves, but then there is potentially conflicting info in

Another similar problem is that the user may reconfigure samba-common or
slapd at any point and obviously my package wouldn't know about it.

So, my conclusion is that debconf is not particularly well suited to
integrating several otherwise-unrelated packages and I am unsure whether
working around the problem, or helping to improve debconf, or doing it
some other way entirely is the better approach... thoughts?


Mark Roach

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