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Re: (REPOST) user-specific package configuration information

On Wed, 04 July 2001, Theodore Tso wrote:

Hi Ted,

>  they don't really "clutter" the home directory

Understood, but my perspective is different.

>  And by being in the user's home directory, they're easy
>  for programs to find, and easy for system administrators 
>  to back up.

Its just as easy to backup a single directory (~/.etc) and
much easier to find the configuration files for a particular
package (~/.etc/<package name>/*).

>  On top of that, there is the entrenched history to consider.

Yes, but I can remember when entrenched history was to store
the users home directory in the /usr directory.  My point is 
that if it is a problem, and it can be fixed, then it 
eventually will be.  However, without proper foresight, not 
until it grows to be a big problem.  And I do agree that 
sometimes foresight is wrong and you waste time fixing 
problems that are not real problems.

> the likelihood of this changing in the near future is small

I agree, not in the near future ... but eventually it will 
change ... which is my point.  I would prefer to have a 
new scheme now where the change can happen gradually over 
time.  I think that the LSB is a good opportunity to 
recommend a new scheme that has merit.  If no one uses it, 
then fine and it dies ... nothing is lost since it would 
not be a mandatory requirement anyway, but if developers 
start using it and it grows then we all benefit.

>  The question you raise is much like one of whether 
>  individual files should be in /etc, or in directories.  
>  i.e., /etc/exim.conf, vs. /etc/exim/exim.conf

Two points:  (1) not quite the same since only a single 
directory (e.g. ~/.etc) is used to hold all user-specific 
configuration package information for all packages, and  
(2) the present LSB 1.0 requires that the exim package be 
named something like lsb-exim-2.12-x.i386.rpm, and 
therefore, the FHS requires the configuration file 
"exim.conf" be stored in the directory "/etc/opt/lsb-exim".  
So actually there is no question anymore as this file must 


If not then the package will not be LSB or FHS compliant.
And I agree with this ... even if the structure is more
complex it identifies various attributes of "exim.conf";  
(1) the file belongs to an optionally installed package, 
(2) the package is LSB compliant, (3) the package name is 
"lsb-exim" and (4) it is the only configuration file
for this package.

>  So the issue is much more complicated than you make 
>  it out to be....

I disagree.  I am not a newbie.  I have been very 
involved with *nix systems technically for 30+ years 
(however, Linux for only 2).  I really think the 
largest hurdle in not technical complication at all, 
but pacifying the community members that get 
"religious" about these types of issues.  The things 
to keep in mind are:

(1) technical merit for change is clearly shown, 
(2) backward compatibility is fully maintained and 
(3) continued use of the status quo is permissible.

I think this proposal passes on all three criteria.
However, seeing the responses so far I don't think 
it will fly ... to bad :)

Best Regards, Keith Adamson

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