Subject: Re: XML for System Configs [ was Re: power management and related
To: None <>
From: der Mouse <mouse@Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 07/07/2006 14:08:11
> xased --context='//user[account="daniel"]/shell' 's/csh/ksh/'
> xagrep --context='//user/shell' 'csh'

This is exactly why I don't like XML for system config files: you need
specialized tools to do basic operations on them.  With traditional
passwd database files, there are any number of ways to write either of
the above.

Now, if you used XML *and* required that each record be exactly one
line, and conversely, that would help.  Require additionally that the
fields occur in a particular order - basically, change the colons in
traditional passwd syntax to long fixed strings - and then you actually
wouldn't lose much.

Until, of course, someone uses an XML tool that doesn't preserve those

> As far as I can see it makes system administration easier, because it
> is a lot more easier to narrow the context to make changes to than
> using line-based tools.

It would make administration harder for me, because in order to do
almost anything, I'd have to use new, specialized, unfamiliar tools.

> It will also ease up things for people who are building configuration
> tools for desktop-oriented NetBSD distributions.

If so (I'm not competent to evaluate this claim), then it should
probably go in, because in modern NetBSD, that seems to trump
everything else.

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