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Re: dotdee: a proposal for improving conffile management in Debian

On Wed, 04 May 2011, Jonathan Nieder wrote:
> Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> > There's quite some work left to define the interface that the
> > dpkg-conffile-handler programs must implement, and to the way the override
> > would work
> Well, yeah. :)

Heh, I'm happy to try to go into more details but I wanted first to
explain the general principle and see how people would react to it.

> FWIW I don't think this is inconsistent with what Dustin was
> suggesting --- dotdee would just be one example of a
> dpkg-conffile-handler program.

Yes, I even mentioned this case as an example. :-)

>  So the question becomes, where do the pristine conffiles get written,
>  and when does the conffile handler program get called to deal with
>  them.

The closest compared to now is that have the pristine conffiles
extracted where they are expected with the usual .dpkg-new suffix
but to give the explicit path to the dpkg-conffile-handler so that
dpkg is free to use something else later on.

In theory the conffile handler would be called exactly at the time
where dpkg renames .dpkg-new files during the --configure (i.e. before the
postinst is run).

> I confess that I'd prefer a hook specified on the commandline over
> alternatives, since it would make experimenting with e.g. debugging
> options a little easier.  Defaults for commandline options can be
> specified in dpkg.conf so I don't think this means any loss of
> convenience.

One does not forbid the other. The alternative system is cleaner to
predict the behaviour of which package is going to have precedence should
several conffile-handler be registered.

But we can certainly have a command-line option too for experimenting (or
even just to be able to write non-regression tests).

> I'd also prefer if, at least to start, there is only one conffile
> handling program so people can experiment with what a good stackable
> interface looks like (those are hard) outside of dpkg.

Trust us to accept only good stuff in dpkg. :-)

Raphaël Hertzog ◈ Debian Developer

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