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Re: "alternatives" versus PATH



On Fri, 2006-10-06 at 08:45 -0400, Edwin Olson wrote:
> Fedora has shipped "alternatives" for a while now, but I still don't get it.
> 
> Why is "alternatives" better than setting your PATH appropriately? Why 
> should "alternatives" override your path?

The two big reasons I'm familiar with are:

1) not everything respects your path (e.g. may be executed outside the
context of your login).

2) it's a convenient way to manage a group of "pointers" which all must
be updated in lock-step (e.g. getting any one of many links wrong can be
disastrous).

The context I'm most familiar with is the use of alternatives for
modifying your MTA (e.g. postfix vs. sendmail) for which both above
points are critical. Whether alternatives is appropriate for some other
scenario/context could be debated but alternatives does serve a useful
purpose.
-- 
John Dennis <jdennis redhat com>


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