Subject: Re: PROPOSAL: Move pkg /var stuff to /usr/pkg/var?
To: Julio Merino <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 05/22/2002 14:58:36
[ On Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 09:57:08 (+0200), Julio Merino wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: PROPOSAL: Move /usr/pkg/etc to /etc/pkg
> Well, this seems good. Although, I have seen several packages touching
> my /var directory, a thing that I do not like. Shouldn't they be fixed, so
> they use /usr/pkg/var *by*default*?

No way!  :-)

The only _standard_ place in the hierarchy for files that "vary" and
which must be specific to one single host is /var.

If you want to propose $PREFIX/var then I think you need to first fix
all the documentation and such for diskless operation so that everyone
using such configurations either creates two such filesystems that are
unique to each client host and mounts them appropriately, or that they
know to do whatever loopback mounts or symlink tricks that are necessary
to make $PREFIX/var an alias for /var.

However before you even consider making such a proposal you need to
think very hard about the implications and consequences of implicitly
providing two logically separate namespaces for such files and whether
or not you can then arbitrarily merge them without conflict....  People
who want to share $PREFIX amongst multiple (possibly diskless) clients
really need to know exactly what the requirements for doing so will be.

That all said I personally wouldn't mind if packages referenced their
varying files with $PREFIX/var just so long as it was mandated that this
namespace be considered to be the same as /var, i.e. that it is always
to be treated an alias and that no filename conflicts with system files
can ever be allowed.  I just think it's a lot easier, and a _lot_ less
error prone to just use /var directly than to use some other alias for
it.  Over the years of using pkgsrc on NetBSD I've always put a symlink
for $PREFIX/var pointing explicitly to /var (on those machines where I
have not set PREFIX=/usr, of course :-), just in case some package does
accidentally use $PREFIX/var....

Once upon a time I actually kept all "varying" files for manually
installed local software in /local/var, and I did that because with a
proprietary OS and no software management system (like pkg_install) it's
a lot easier and safer to keep what the vendor owns separate from what
the local admin owns.  However with a half-decent software management
system (eg. pkg_install plus the current "distrib" stuff that creates
the distribution tar files for NetBSD releases), it's a _LOT_ easier to
just keep _everything_ in one consistent hierarchy, especially for
diskless workstations.

								Greg A. Woods

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