Subject: Re: /usr/pkg/{etc,share}; /var/db/pkg
To: NetBSD Packages Technical Discussion List <>
From: Curt Sampson <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 08/07/1998 15:58:15
On Sat, 1 Aug 1998, Greg A. Woods wrote:

> With the exception of /etc/passwd and the related /etc/*.db files, and
> possibly /etc/aliases.db, no files in /etc/ are edited only by programs
> (i.e. never edited by humans).  All files in /var are created and/or
> edited by programs and should probably never be edited by humans.

You forgot /etc/dumpdates, /etc/skeykeys, and /etc/ssh_random_seed.

I don't find `edited by a human' versus `edited by a program' a
very useful distinction from a system administration point of view.
More useful is that /etc contains configuration information necessary
to the running of the system, and /var contains logfiles and
generated information. In other words, if you lose your entire
disk, you can restore /etc from backup and start with a fresh /var
created with /etc/mtree, and you'll be fine (except for losing a
bit of mail and your recent logfile info).

Thus, to my mind, the package install database does not belong in
/var, since, if lost, you can't uninstall packages and you can't
regenerate that information.

I'd say it belongs under /usr/pkg, though, not /etc, in order to
acommodate shared /usr setups.


Curt Sampson	   Info at
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Vancouver, BC  (604) 257-9400	   In code possess'd of invisible folly.