[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

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

The keyboard of Gordon Tetlow emitted at some point in time:

> I thought the purpose of this project (at least the FHS) is to create
> a standard of what the filesystem should look like, not necessarily
> what it currently looks like. Just because `Everyone is doing it'
> (tm) doesn't mean it's right. Personally, I want Linux to be clean
> and elegant in its implementation, so if that means breaking from
> convention and putting mail in /var/mail, so be it. I for one don't
> know the answer. Whatever the answer is should be the right one, not
> just the one people are doing.

In 1991 Imperial College (ca 4000 students) made a considered move to
unix. At the time, some IBM RS/6000 systems we already had had
MAIL=/usr/spool/mail/$USER in the .profile file installed with a new
user. A comittee (of which I was a member, although I had no strong
opinions on the matter, only in changing $USER to $LOGNAME) decided
that /usr/spool/mail was the place for the mail spool.

>From this humble beginning it proliferated to all users, and still is
there. It cannot be changed, as automated editing of user's profile
files is a no-no, hand-editing too time consuming, and forced breaking
of habits not acceptable. So there it is, /usr/spool/mail/$LOGNAME,
after 100 months still going strong. 

System administrators have to use symlinks, (easy,actually, /usr/spool
-> /var/spool is provided by most manufacturers now, and generally
speaking  /var/spool/mail is a mount point for /var/spool/mail on the
relevant cluster server) Users "own" machines are not allowed to mount
the mail spool (they could switch user and read anybodies mail ...)

Apart from single user machines, most installations will have similar
inertia. Thats why I think this discussion is so supinely irrelevant.


*   Why not use metric units and get it right first time, every time ?
*   email: cmaae47 @ imperial.ac.uk

Reply to: