[OT] Debian mailinglists [was: RE: Debian or Ubuntu?]

Avi Greenbury avismailinglistaccount at googlemail.com
Tue May 20 15:00:47 UTC 2008

On Tue, 20 May 2008 10:56:28 -0300
Derek Broughton <news at pointerstop.ca> wrote:
> Especially.  That's apparently Ubuntu and Xorg's aim (at least to prevent
> the necessity of editing - it's *nix, so you can't actually _prevent_
> someone editing the files).  Haven't you noticed that we get a smaller
> percentage of emails on these lists these days about X configuration than
> we used to?  That's because people are needing to do much less hand editing.

Yes. Less necessary hand editing is always a good thing. But
hand-editing is sometimes the ideal solution IMO.
I much prefer quickly changing, say, the resolution value in my
xorg.conf file than running dpkg-reconfigure and *hoping* that
somewhere along the way it'll ask me. If it breaks, it's not like it's
impossible to fix, since all I need in order to fix it is my trusty
text editor.

> > 
> > Or a web server to which one has no physical access?
> Again, yes.  Apache is less of a problem than some servers, in that I can
> hand edit the configs and test them before restarting Apache, but I'd be a
> lot happier with a tool that didn't let me write invalid config files in
> the first place.

A tool that won't let you write invalid config files is not necessarily
a Q+A tool.
I very much like the idea of one that doesn't let me write invalid
files, but I also don't want to have to respond to potentially badly
worded questions. And what if my language isn't supported? To edit
config files by hand just requires that I understand the contents of
the text file, and have an editor that understands the characters. To
edit config files by Q+A requires that I understand the language in
which I am being asked.

Visudo is, in my mind, the closest to perfect a config file editing
system's likely to get (until telepathy hits the mainstream, anyway).
It lets me write exactly what I want, with the tool I want, in the
order that I want to, and then tells me if I've done something
wrong when I say "I'm done, check it please".

Avi Greenbury

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