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Re: The Strengths and Weakness of Fedora/RHEL OS management

Le samedi 01 avril 2006 à 19:29 -0800, Shane Stixrud a écrit :

> The limitations around automating/scripting system changes without 
> replacing whole config files is one problem.
>   How about the  differing 
> syntax between most applications without a technical need, some of which 
> have horrid syntax.  The impracticality of programs sharing configuration 
> elements with each other without each application being aware of every 
> other applications magic syntax. The impossibility of having an automated 
> system for saving and reverting changes without saving whole config files 
> after every change and then figuring out what changed and why.  Or how 
> about the fact developing configuration guis/tools is many orders of 
> magnitude more difficult when their is no consistent config file standard?


I'm not saying all your points are not a problem. But in the big picture
they're not *the* problem.

Software design is a balance between the needs of the software writer,
and the needs of the software user. Configuration files are already used
to transfer some of the work from the software writer to the software
user (if the software was perfect and the software writer omnicient
there would be no need for config files).

You propose to make the transfer even easier with some new
infrastructure. (easier on the software writer that is). But the current
configuration pains stem not because this transfer is painful (adding a
conf entry has always been less work for a software writer than figuring
the right value or autodetect algorithm). They stem from software
writers dumping ill-though keys on users. And here you'll make the
situation even worse, by promoting a no-need-to-think configuration
system (see the post on the new printing admin tool in the archives -
problem not the conf file syntax but that key values/names are

A case in point is gconf where the work is already so little on the
software writer part some apps have been known to dump serialized
structures in conf files, and the Gnome people insistence on hiding most
of the keys from users has led on a pile of crapload files (why bother
thinking if users never see the keys ? except problems happen and user
need to salvage systems).

Sendmail is another perfect example where configuration has been
optimized for the software, not the humans and that's the #1 sendmail
rejection factor today

Nicolas Mailhot

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