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

Mario Vukelic mario.vukelic at dantian.org
Tue May 20 19:25:23 UTC 2008

On Tue, 2008-05-20 at 15:32 -0300, Derek Broughton wrote:
> How so?  You keep making this statement, but since the config file has a
> fixed grammar, how is it possible for a knowledgeable user to "know
> better"?

It's rather a problem of a GUI tool trying to know better than the
admin, which in your scenario it _must do (because it is supposed to
prevent the admin from making errors). Thus, you require that the
programmers of the GUI tool have foreseen every possibly use that an
enterprising person could have for the program. This is doomed to fail.

> Off the top of my head, configuration files consist of the following sorts
> of options:
> - multiple choice
> - integer 
> - text (sometimes with content rules)
> - if A then B

You are talking of the most simple subset of config files here. Or maybe
you make it look much simpler than it is by conflating nearly everything
into "text". May I offer procmailrc as an example for something that
would probably be impossible to implement with a GUI configurator that
should also check that the file really does what the user intended:

> If you use a text editor, you can violate any of those rules, but why would
> an expert do so, deliberately?   If you use a tool, it can ensure that only
> valid inputs are provided, and it can ensure that all dependent conditions
> are met.  If the tool explicitly doesn't let set valid combinations, it's
> in error.

It's not so much about valid key=value pairs, it is about legitimate
combinations of values.

More information about the ubuntu-users mailing list