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Re: Resolutions to comments on LSB-FHS-TS_SPEC_V1.0

On Wed, Jan 20, 1999 at 10:18:07AM -0500, Erik Troan wrote:
> On 20 Jan 1999, Daniel Quinlan wrote:
> >  1. totally revert, drop /var/mail, and specify /var/spool/mail
> >  2. partially revert, /var/spool/mail is a directory and /var/mail
> >     must be a symbolic link to it
> >  3. allow a /var/spool/mail directory, provided that /var/mail is
> >     a symbolic link to it
> >  4. allow either /var/spool/mail or /var/mail to be a directory,
> >     provided that the other is a symbolic link to it.
> Who will #1 affect? Does anyone use /var/mail?

If we allow both things to exist, then all distribution will have to
ship with a symlink from the other directory in the future.

If we just stay with /var/spool/mail, anyone can just add a symlink
from /var/mail, if there is a _local_ need to have this compatibility
with e.g. Solaris boxes.

I don't see any reason for a standardization project to move people
from having one standard dir to allow for two possible paths.
/var/spool/mail is the default path and any admin can symlink other
dirs to it or move it somewhere else.

If you want to move this dir and don't want to make a symlink from
/var/spool/mail to a new dir, you must do 2 things:
- the configuration from the prog who receives email and stores it on
  the local disk (e.g. /etc/sendmail.cf and the way it calls procmail)
- all MUAs should use the environment variable MAIL. So setting this in
  the login scripts (like e.g. /etc/profile) should be enough.
  (If not, the user prog is buggy and should be fixed. That shouldn't
  add much code anyway.)
So the mechanisms already allow for an easy change of the default
mail spool. Why should Linux then come with a default of already
2 different dirs?

Another point against having two dirs: Configure scripts often have
a list of directories they search for and use the first dir they find.
If you compile new progs and have /var/mail as a symlink to /var/spool/mail,
/var/mail gets hardcoded and you are never able to remove that symlink
again. That's the wrong direction to go.

Sorry for writing the same several times again. Since I have moved from
/var/spool/mail to /var/mail and back again, I know what's it like and
I know that having only one dir instead is more sane/clean than several

Florian La Roche

P.S.: I'd like Linux to move on with making things even more sane in the
      future. E.g. I liked Red Hats move to only have /usr/sbin/sendmail
      and no /usr/lib/sendmail. They need to go through all progs and see
      if they do search for /usr/sbin/sendmail correctly.
      I think this was done too early and I personally still like to have
      a symlink from /usr/lib/sendmail on my machines.
      I just want to use this example to show that Linux distributions can
      move people to even more clean and sane setups. Adding backwards
      compatible symlinks is easy. Going through all progs and fix them
      is work and I hope that standardization projects don't hinder such
      things. The FHS was very good for Linux, but we cannot stop and
      freeze everything now.

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