Idea for a possible patch to the dpkg/apt system

Chris Neary hello at poetofcode.org
Tue Jun 6 19:31:10 UTC 2006


So today I took the plunge and decided to upgrade to Dapper (apparently
Gnome is improved in speed and the speed of Gnome lately has been irritating
me, but that might be because I never log out of my X session and end up
running it for weeks on end without closing down common apps.). I run the
update-manager application and away it goes.

Then I disappear after a while to watch some TV while it does its thing. I
come back and it's stuck on asking me a question about replacing a config
file. I'd already answered a few of these, but thought I was through them
all when I disappeared. In this case it was asking me to change my
libao.conf, with the only difference being the driver name being changed
from alsa to alsa09. The trivialness of that just pushed me to send this
message.

So I had a thought: What if in future, dist-upgrading the system doesn't ask
you if you want to replace a config file, just leaves them there as
$FILE.dpkg-new, and upon restarting the system, it asks you if you want to
replace your config files, one-by-one, in a batch.

I considered thinking this would be good as a pre-configuration thing, but
that's probably not really feasable. You'd (I'm guessing) have to cycle
through the dist-upgrade process in a sort of simulation mode to detect what
config files will want to be replacing old ones.

What do people here think? Are Ubuntu allowed to tweak such a major element
of the Debian distribution? Would it cause problems with hooking back up to
Debian? Am I being stupid in thinking that poorly designed operating systems
made in Redmond are the only excuse for this symptom of irritatingware?
Really. Just load default settings and let me change them in the
post-install if I need to. And if I have settings stored already, that
probably means I want to keep them. (But leave me the new file just in case
there's a new option to look at, or the entire format of the config file has
changed [see also: the Music Player Daemon, the svn version of which did
this recently]).

Discuss. :-)

Chris
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