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Bug#61308: PROPOSAL] Initializing databases by using conffile s.

Peter S Galbraith [mailto:GalbraithP@dfo-mpo.gc.ca] saith:

> Santiago Vila wrote:
> > I also think this proposal should not be needed, but 
> considering that
> > nobody managed so far to convince the mime-support maintainer that
> > /etc/mailcap being a conffile is really bad, it seems it is.
> Perhaps that's because (Slink) policy says:
> 4.7. Configuration files
> ------------------------
>      Any configuration files created or used by your package 
> should reside
>      in `/etc'. If there are several you should consider creating a
>      subdirectory named after your package.
>      It is almost certain that any file in `/etc' that is in 
> your package's
>      file system archive should be listed in `dpkg''s 
> `conffiles' control
>      area file. (See the _Debian Packaging Manual_).
> That wording should be cleared up if it still exists.

I think there are at least three basic cases that should be considered:

1.  Files like /etc/services, which are essentially global configuration.
They do not change often, but they do occasionally.  They are essentially
the same on every machine.

2.  Files like /etc/hosts, which are install-specific.  The sysadmin is
expected to change them, and should not be automagically changed without the
sysadmin knowing.

3.  Files like /etc/passwd or /etc/mailcap, which serves more as a database
than a configuration file.  These are expected to be modified automagically
or by hand as is needed.

Case 1 and 2 should be conf files, but case 3 should not.  It shouldn't be
in the contents of the package, but rather automagically generated upon
install.  Ideally, it should also contain an "update" program of some sort
so that other packages which need to update it have a clean way to do so.  

Are there any other cases I haven't thought of?  Is there a way to say that
cleanly for policy?

> Peter
> -- 
> Peter Galbraith, research scientist          
> <GalbraithP@dfo-mpo.gc.ca>
> Maurice Lamontagne Institute, Department of Fisheries and 
> Oceans Canada
> P.O. Box 1000, Mont-Joli Qc, G5H 3Z4 Canada. 418-775-0852 
> FAX: 775-0546
>     6623'rd GNU/Linux user at the Counter - http://counter.li.org/ 
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