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Bug#215549: Why should the postinst care if it is being confiugured or reconfigured?


        A postinst may be called with the following arguments:
 * <postinst> `configure' <most-recently-configured-version>
    There are three sub-cases:
     1) there is no second argument -- ancient dpkg, not
        relevant these days
     2) the second argument is "" or  "<unknown>", fresh
     3) The second argument is the version on the system. Either
        an upgrade, or a reconfiguration
 * <old-postinst> `abort-upgrade' <new version>
 * <conflictor's-postinst> `abort-remove' `in-favour' <package> <new-version>
 * <deconfigured's-postinst> `abort-deconfigure' `in-favour'
   <failed-install-package> <version> `removing' <conflicting-package>

        The question is, why should we change something so deeply
 deployed as package postinst API without compelling reasons that the
 postinst should treat an upgrade differently from a reconfigure,
 especially since the user interaction part is already correctly
 handled by debconf?

        Given that we have survived for 15 years or so without postinsts
 needing to make that distinction will make the compelling reason pretty

        Almost all postinsts now (and the majority of those that my
 packages have) will just ignore and do  nothing when called with an
 unknown argument; so we can't just start passing that argument to the
 postinst until almost all postinsts have been changed. It would help if
 there was an easy way for lintian to check whether a postinst handles
 that argument, but I can see no easy way for doing so even on my own
 packages (perl, and shell postinst are the only ones I use).

        Given that we will need lintian changes, a transtion plan, and a
 whole lot of churn, and so far, I have seen little (and I did read
 debconf-devel(7)) that offers a compelling reason to go through this
 whole mess.

         What am I missing?

Support Bingo, keep Grandma off the streets.
Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@acm.org> <http://www.golden-gryphon.com/>  
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