Subject: /etc/default ickiness...
To: None <>
From: Mason Loring Bliss <>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 09/08/2000 16:09:47
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Maybe I'm confused here, but it seems like what we're now providing as
/etc/rc.conf is an amazing leap backwards from what we used to provide.
We used to have something that was nicely documented and approachable.
Now one must check /etc/default/rc.conf and copy over variables. This
isn't nearly as nice, IMHO. It's a lot more work for the user.

Is the plan to have a tool which manages this configuration stuff? I'm
not grasping the big picture. One of the things I used to tout about
NetBSD was easy configuration. I'd very much like to see us go back to
having a single /etc/rc.conf and a way to easily detect changes.

Perhaps this could be based on how folks typically track kernel config
file changes - keep a copy of the default file, and diff that against
a copy of the new default file to see what needs to be changed in the
actual in-use file. I'm sure this could be automated easily enough to
take much of the grunt work out of it.

Another thing that would work if we want to stick with the "master file,
overrides file" model is a tool (virc?) to invisibly handle changes -
a tool that would merge in the overrides for purposes of administrator
editing, and split them back out on saving changes. This would result
in files essentially identical to what we've got now, but we wouldn't
be losing the nice in-band comments and documentation.

Is anyone working on such a tool? Do we want such a tool? Does anyone
else see the present system as something of a loss? Am I missing some-
thing that makes the present system *not* a loss in terms of the things
I've mentioned, above? I'll be happy to work on such a tool if no one
else is doing it and if folks see it as The Right Thing.

Thanks in advance for commentary.

    Mason Loring Bliss  I m m a n e n t i z=
awake ? sleep : dream;  t h e E s c h a t o=

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