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Re: Debian Configuration Packaging System

I'll note that we wrap our dpkg-divert calls with a bunch of error-handling code that we found quite important for correctly recovering from people hitting ^C in the middle of installation (see <http://debathena/config-packages/code/config-package-dev-4.2/divert.sh.in> for the code). Earlier iterations that did not do this were plagued with problems whenever there were errors in installation.

We also ran into a few packages which will overwrite configuration files that they manage via debconf, overwriting our symlink every time the relevant package is upgraded. But I think that's a bug in those Debian packages, since the same problem would occur for any manual changes to those configuration files as well (I think in the cases I've seen it is a failure to check whether an upgrade is occuring when generating the configuration file in postinst).

What other problems have you experienced?

	-Tim Abbott

On Sun, 24 Feb 2008, Russ Allbery wrote:

Timothy G Abbott <tabbott@MIT.EDU> writes:

Anders Kaseorg and I created a system of CDBS modules (which we've
tentatively packaged as the config-package-dev package) for creating
Debian configuration packages.  By configuration packages, we mean
packages that configure an existing Debian system by applying
dpkg-divert to configuration files.  Our configuration package system
makes the process of creating configuration packages efficient.

It's generally accepted wisdom that dpkg-divert doesn't work properly with
configuration files and isn't safe.  I admit to have done something
similar in the past, but I have noticed odd things that didn't matter for
my particular use, but which meant that the support didn't work right.
That's likely to be an issue for a general package.  Fixing dpkg-divert to
work correctly with configuration files (if possible) would probably be a
good idea.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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