Subject: Re: NetBSD master CVS tree commits
To: Greg Hudson <>
From: Peter Svensson <>
List: current-users
Date: 03/31/1996 12:17:51
On Sat, 30 Mar 1996, Greg Hudson wrote:

> A brief statement on why alphabetized symlinks in a directory is evil:
> a good configuration file (or "means of storing configuration
> information," if you prefer) should have the following properties:
> 	1. It should be easy to read and edit by a human who has not
> 	   read any documentation.
> 	2. It should have a syntax for comments (relevant to (1)).
> 	3. It should be verifiable by an automatic procedure.
> 	4. It should be editable by an automatic procedure.
> 	5. If possible, single errors should not invalidate the entire
> 	   configuration file.
> A shell script has property 2 and, to some degree 1, but automatically
> flunks 3, 4, and 5 because it's Turing-complete.  Symlinks in a
> directory have property 3, 4, and 5, but they do not and never will
> have property 1 and 2.

Someone who hasn't read any documentation will make a lot bigger mess 
editing the complex rc-scripts than editing one file in init.d. 

> Symlinks in a directory have the main advantage that they allow you to
> do ordering with the "ls" command.  I think this is a sorry reason to
> use it over a configuration file.

There are quite a few of us who actually quite like the system. I think 
the init.d solution is quite beautiful in the same way the /dev concept 
is beautiful, the filesystem is a powerful tool.