"Chatty" config files in /etc

Ruslan Ermilov ru at FreeBSD.org
Thu Aug 31 09:59:40 UTC 2006

On Wed, Aug 30, 2006 at 08:15:57PM -0400, Garance A Drosehn wrote:
> At 12:28 AM +0400 8/31/06, Ruslan Ermilov wrote:
> >On Wed, Aug 30, 2006 at 01:41:51PM -0400, Garance A Drosehn wrote:
> >
> > > ...   I wonder if it would be better to
> > > have the comments and examples as files under /etc/defaults.  I
> > > suppose they could also go under /usr/share/examples, but for
> > > these files I think there is some advantage that the comments
> > > and examples be on '/', and not on '/usr'.
> > >
> >> Also, if the comment+example files are under /etc/defaults, then
> >> changes to them *will* come up in mergemaster.  It's just that
> >> now they will show up in a file that has no local changes, so
> >> the user can just read the change, instead of having to "merge"
> > > all their local changes with the new official version.
> >
> >I think they should be moved to /usr/share/examples/etc/ (like
> >make.conf), with files in /etc/ representing good (short) defaults
> >with a minimum of comments and probably references to examples.
> Well, my thinking was something like:
> a) these example/comment files are for "system" things.  Many
>    people mount their /usr directories from somewhere else,
>    thus /usr might not be an exact match for the running kernel.
>    (note that make.conf makes sense for /usr/share/examples,
>    because the `make` command is also under /usr).
And having inconsistency between /usr/lib/*.so*, /usr/bin,
/usr/libexec, /usr/sbin and a running kernel?  :-)
/usr if often shared, indeed, but it usually does match
the currently running kernel.  Heck, why the kernel matters
here?  I'd say more important that the /usr be consistent with

> b) by putting them in /etc/defaults, users do *see* the changes
>    when they run mergemaster, even though they won't have to
>    merge those changes with local changes.  In some cases the
>    changes to the comments or examples will suggest some change
>    that the user should be making to their own already-working
>    configuration, even though their configuration won't match
>    the default system-config.  I'm thinking when some comment
>    is added like:
>        # NOTE: Please see pf.conf(5) BUGS section before
>        # using user/group rules.
No, /etc/defaults are different beasties -- they are true
default config files -- they are either used if there's no
corresponding version under /etc, or most likely sourced
to provide defaults.  To be moved to /etc/defaults, a file
should gain the same property.

Ruslan Ermilov
ru at FreeBSD.org
FreeBSD committer
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