Subject: Re: /var/cron -> /etc/cron
To: Michael Graff , Greg Hudson <ghudson@MIT.EDU>
From: David Maxwell <>
List: current-users
Date: 04/06/1999 14:36:48
On Tue, Apr 06, 1999 at 10:05:48AM -0700, Michael Graff wrote:
> Greg Hudson <ghudson@MIT.EDU> writes:
> > > also, read-only root's *are* coming (and maybe not too far away),
> > > and this cron change will totally break them.
> > 
> > Not totally; a symlink into something like /var/etc would repair the
> > situation.  (Or, alternatively, you could disable user access to
> > cron.)

With the current info in /etc a read-only root implies that users
can't change their passwords and shells, root can't change groups,
printers, network configs, resolver, mail aliases...

>From that, it seems to me like a read-only root is a pretty special
purpose application, for embedded systems or something. Otherwise,
password info is coming from yp, but yp doesn't cover the other
items I listed. Can a read-only root promoter identify how those
items should be treated differently from crontabs?

> Ahh, I get it.  Let's make a change that (1) doesn't increase
> functionality, (2) has some good arguments against it (read-only
> roots, not letting /etc be writable in unlimited size files by users)
> and (3) requires a symlink to put things back as they are now.

No, (1) consolidates similar files, (2) seems to fall into the same
read-only issues as other files already do (see above), crontabs
shouldn't be of unlimited size regardless of where they are. Not
many configurations should need more than 2K of crontab IMHO.
(but it should be system-configurable) (3) is an argument that
would prevent anything ever changing anywhere.

> Why is this change necessary?  IMHO, it isn't.  Leave it alone, there
> are more important things to worry about.

Why was /etc/rc.conf created? Because it consolidates configuration
into one place.

hier(7) says

/var/    multi-purpose log, temporary, transient, and spool files

Which doesn't fit semi-permanent user-configuration files.

David Maxwell,| --> Mastery of UNIX, like
mastery of language, offers real freedom. The price of freedom is always dear,
but there's no substitute. Personally, I'd rather pay for my freedom than live
in a bitmapped, pop-up-happy dungeon like NT. - Thomas Scoville