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Re: XFree86 4.0.1 and app-defaults

On Thu, 27 Jul 2000, Branden Robinson wrote:

> On Thu, Jul 27, 2000 at 04:15:59AM -0700, Joey Hess wrote:
> > So, why not hack X[2]? Make the library look in /etc/X11/app-defaults, then
> > in the old location. Make policy that states that packages depending on the
> > X 4 version of that library should use /etc/X11/app-defaults. Such a
> > package would break if it were installed onto a system with an older
> > xlib, but the dependancy will prevent that. Upgrades and downgrades will
> > work without any messy difficulties. You can remove the xlib hack in a
> > release or two.
> I was hoping to avoid this, but developing consensus on -policy seems to be
> that I should do this.  Sigh.

I just read the discussion and I am still having a problems with the
proposed solutions.

Since I installed buzz for the first time, I have gotten the impression
that every file under /etc is a configuration file[1] and local
modifications will be preserved on upgrades. Let's read that again: 
"Every file under /etc is a configuration file and local modifications
will be preserved on upgrades." This may or may not be written down in
Debian Policy, I haven't checked. But I surely depend on it in Debian. It
raises some points in this case, though.

1. It is my understanding that app-defaults files are not configuration
   files, they are just default settings stored outside the binary.
   Therefore, a sysadmin can be expected not to modify them.

2. Files in /etc/X11/app-defaults/ will be modified by (ignorant?)
   sysadmins. They will get mad when they discover their local 
   modifications have been thrown away without warning in an upgrade.

Because of point 1, it is my opinion that app-defaults files should never
be conffiles, no matter where they are located. Combine points 1 and 2,
and I think app-defaults file should continue to reside in

If you say I am wrong on point 1, please say so because that would make my
whole argument invalid. If point 1 has been right up until now and you
want to change it for XFree86 4, there is yet another issue:

"Older" X clients (built before the necessary changes in Policy[2]) will
try to put their app-defaults files in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/app-defaults/
(like they should). Since this will be a symlink, the files will end up in
/etc/X11/app-defaults/. But they aren't conffiles and this conflicts with
the rule that every file under /etc must be a configuration file.

Branden, where do you stand on this? Have you thought about this?

Please tell me if I am totally wrong here. I am not an X developer, nor am
I even a Debian developer. I'm just a happy user and have been for some
years now.


[1] Note the difference between "configuration file" and "conffile".
[2] This includes, of course, every X client in potato.
rd1936:  10:25pm  up 19 days, 20:15,  8 users,  load average: 1.44, 1.31, 1.23

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