Subject: Re: /var/cron -> /etc/cron
To: Gandhi woulda smacked you <>
From: David Maxwell <>
List: current-users
Date: 04/07/1999 22:59:04
On Wed, Apr 07, 1999 at 02:55:54PM -0700, Gandhi woulda smacked you wrote:
> On Tue, 6 Apr 1999, David Maxwell wrote:
> # Why was /etc/rc.conf created? Because it consolidates configuration
> # into one place.
> This is a straw man.  /etc/rc.conf consolidated stuff that was
> in /etc to begin with; moving /var/cron to /etc does not address
> even the same kind of issue.

No, it's not exactly the same type of change, it's consolidating files
in one directory, instead of consolidating files in one file.

> # hier(7) says
> # /var/    multi-purpose log, temporary, transient, and spool files
> # Which doesn't fit semi-permanent user-configuration files.
> If I understand that the trend is toward not having to back up /var,
> then mailers will be required to offload mail from /var/mail.  Not
> something I relish having to do.  my /var/mail/$user files are pretty
> permanent.

I've said before that my arguement has nothing to do with not backing
up /var. I certainly feel the need to backup mailboxes, and would feel
the need to backup things like print jobs if I had enough of them.

> What about /var/crash?  I'm not entirely sure which of the above categories
> it would match.

Aside from minfree, I'd count /var/crash contents as 'transient'.
There's no reason to keep them long term, and if you lose them,
it's not a major loss.

> What about /var/pkg?  If that goes away, that's not exactly trivial
> to replace.  I'd hardly consider it in any of the above categories.

I don't have a /var/pkg. What's in yours?

> .../var/named?  Unless you put your named configuration someplace else.
> I moved it out of /etc because I didn't think it belonged there.

Mine are in /etc, it's config data.

> .../var/yp?

I don't use/care about yp, but I suspect it's config data.

> And crontabs are not semi-permanent.  They are there.  They exist.

By semi-permanent, I mean that they are not static, like /sbin/init,
but are not constantly changing, like /var/spool/mqueue. I find 
crontabs to be very much like password file entries. (in terms
of comparing properties)

> Could we please leave /var/cron there?

Here's my question. If a non-Unix person went looking for cron's
config files, what would make him think "/var! That's where it'll
be!" ?

> WRT the read-only root thing, that's great for embedded systems, and

That was my point. For such a system, if it can live with a static
/etc/passwd, it could probably live with a static /etc/cron.

> Alternately, maybe we should just make /etc its own filesystem if we're

I'd like to see how that could work. (sarcasm). Please tell me how
/etc/rc* and /etc/fstab would be handled.

> going to just sit and kvetch over Yet Another Matter of Opinion; otherwise we
> ought to just leave it as is.  I've watched it move from /etc/crontab
> (root only) to /var/spool/crontabs to /var/cron/tabs to all sorts of other
> places.  To move it back to /etc is folly, IMVHO.

I haven't seen any explanation for why it was moved from /etc in the
first place. Anyone?

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