TurnKey Linux's take on Ubuntu appliance development: KISS

Soren Hansen soren at ubuntu.com
Mon Dec 14 14:29:45 GMT 2009

On Wed, Dec 09, 2009 at 07:22:32AM -0200, Carlos Ribeiro wrote:
> I'm still not sure if this is as big a deal is it may seem. The
> package itself would not alter any system-level configuration file
> during its installation. It would provide a script that needs to be
> explictily invoked by the user, where it would (more or less
> automatically) tune the config files. It's not that much different
> than webmin or any other system configuration panel, with the
> exception that it's done automatically.

You will notice that webmin is also not support on Ubuntu or Debian..

> Also, merging is already a problem even when we simply manually edit
> the config files. I see that as a limitation of the packaging system,
> and it happens whenever one tries to upgrade/dist-upgrade a heavily
> customized system. Some packages are already much smarter in this
> regard than others (for instance, it's a long time since I have any
> trouble with Apache2) - but others always give me trouble.

This is exactly the sort of problem that will be exacerbated by scripts
or whatnot going around editing conffiles. One thing is being reminded
of changes you've manually made to a conffile with a text editor when
you're doing an upgrade. It's quite a different situation if a script
has made changes to a bunch of files and you then have to make a
decision about whether you want to keep the patched version of the new
one from the updated package. You have no way to answer this question
properly, because you a) didn't make the change yourself and b) likely
don't understand the motivation behind the specific change, since that's
exactly the sort of things that such scripts (or webmin or whatever) are
meant to /hide/ from you.

Soren Hansen                 | 
Lead virtualisation engineer | Ubuntu Server Team
Canonical Ltd.               | http://www.ubuntu.com/
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