A place for configuration files

Bill Vermillion bv at wjv.com
Thu Mar 23 13:23:22 UTC 2006

On Thu, Mar 23, 2006 at 12:00 , the murky waters churned
and seethed, the dark weeds parted and the water took
on the sinister, shifting visage we recognize as
freebsd-stable-request at freebsd.org. The great maw opened, and the
following was heard:

> Message: 1
> Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2006 02:06:07 +0100
> From: Andrzej Cuber <poczta at andrzejcuber.pl>
> Subject: a place for configuration files
> To: freebsd-stable at freebsd.org

> Hello Everyone,

> for the last 5 years I was using Red Hat and Fedora Core
> Linuxes. With the beginning of the current year I installed
> FreeBSD Release 6 on one of my servers. It took me about a week
> to setup the system but I am very happy with it now.

> I build most of the stuff from the sources using ports.
> What I found strange is that the configuration files of
> different services are located in two different places. Most
> configuration which was installed from the CD is located at
> /etc but everything what I built from sources is located at
> /usr/local/etc. Maybe this is the way it use to be on Unix based
> systems.

> In RedHat and Fedora distributions all configuration files
> are located at /etc. I am very new to FreeBSD but I found it
> difficult. After installing desired package I have to add it to
> /etc/rc.conf in order to start it as a service and then I have
> to look for configuration folder in /usr/local/etc.

> Is there any reason why the configuration files are placed in
> those different locations?

> -- 
> pozdrawiam / best regards
> Andrzej Cuber
> +48 504 271-977

Once you get more familiar with BSD you will begin to appreciate
the way it is done on BSD.

One really nice thing is that by separating the OS and the user
added 'local' programs, you can actually remake the / file system,
reinstall the OS, and not lose any of you local applications or

As another reply indicated rebuiling from sources will also let you
reinstall the base OS, and the only thing you would have to do to
make sure no drek is left over is to list the base directories by
time created to find any old pieces and remove if needed.

Another way that BSD differs it to have several file systems to
start with while many recent Linux installations [which I've been
called in to look at] seem to use the old MS approach of everything
in one FS.

With over 20 years of Unix experiences so far [on many platforms
and at least 6 different CPU bases] I find the multiple FS'es,
with each handling only certain functions, makes a recover in case
of the rare crashes, much easier, and much faster. And faster
means quicker client uptime. As I tell the customers when I get
them back up in a hurry, "if you are down you aren't making money
and if you aren't making money you can't pay me". They appreciate
that approach, and I've changed some commercial OSes to use the
FreeBSD approach to great success. Particularly when the data
segments accumulated by the customer become quite huge.

Bill Vermillion - bv @ wjv . com

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