Subject: Re: /var/cron: hierarchy design arguments
To: Bill Studenmund <skippy@macro.Stanford.EDU>
From: Curt Sampson <>
List: current-users
Date: 04/13/1999 20:21:02
On Tue, 13 Apr 1999, Bill Studenmund wrote:

> Think about diskless machines. They each need their own /var partitions,
> but certainly could share /.

Well, it depends on the diskless machine. Having a shared root is
not a standard setup, but a customised setup that depends on (and
will differ based on) the environment the machines are in.

In other words: /etc is not designed to be shared. If you have an
environment in which you can share it, given certain changes to
root, bully for you. But there are other environments out there in
which different changes will be required, or in root cannot be
shared at all.

> Given that, I think that cron files belong in /var. They certainly should
> be machine specific, and of the two places to put system config info (/etc
> or /var), for diskless machines, /var is the machine-specific one.

In fact, in some shared root situations, you do want to share the
crontabs. It depends on the environment and the administrator.

When you're sharing the root, the general practice is to decide
what's in root that you don't want to share and symlink that out
of root. So it might be that everybody has the same /etc/resolv.conf,
but different /etc/ssh_host_key files; you then symlink /etc/ssh_host_key
into /var, but leave /etc/resolv.conf alone.

> While I agree that the definitions in hier are wrong/out of date, I don't
> think that's a reason to go moving stuff. :-) We should just fix hier(7).

Sure. Several days ago I asked those people who favour /var in cron
to come up with the broad scheme into which this fits, and have as
yet seen no reply.

Curt Sampson  <>   604 801 5335   De gustibus, aut bene aut nihil.
The most widely ported operating system in the world: