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Poettering: The Biggest Myths

Poettering: The Biggest Myths

Posted Jan 28, 2013 17:13 UTC (Mon) by malor (guest, #2973)
In reply to: Poettering: The Biggest Myths by mgb
Parent article: Poettering: The Biggest Myths

which translated means that he's using systemd as a power play to try to make the overwhelming majority of distros change configuration files to match those of his tiny minority.

You're characterizing this as a 'power play', but I don't see how he would particularly benefit. Config files aren't that big a deal. As long as they're still flat text files, and not some weird binary format like the Windows Registry, then it's usually pretty easy to adapt tools to read and generate a little different format.

It just doesn't seem to me that config files are worth getting het up about. As long as they're flat files, they're easy to translate and move around. Yeah, it might be a little more work, but if you're on a really oddball distro with a strange format for configuration, well, that's the price you'll have to pay if you want to run systemd. Maybe it's worth it to you, maybe it isn't, but it doesn't appear likely that any other software is going to stop working if you don't have it.

At least at present, the only benefit I see to Lennart in dropping minority config files is saving work, and I don't particularly begrudge him that.

As a thought experiment, if every Linux distro, everywhere, switches to systemd format for configuration files, do we really lose anything? Does it actually matter, or is it just resistance to change? Perhaps a feeling of losing a competition?

tl;dr version: I don't see any reason for a big emotional investment in config files. Am I missing something?


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Poettering: The Biggest Myths

Posted Jan 28, 2013 17:44 UTC (Mon) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106) [Link]

From systemd's point of view it's rational, but let me point out that what you call "Minority config files" I call "Consistency." Example: Debian stores defaults in /etc/default/ pretty consistently, moving locale to /etc/locale.conf makes the system less coherent--unless you move *ALL* of the defaults similarly, and systemd has not (yet) expanded to be a general settings manager. It just doesn't make sense for Debian to move backwards like this in order to move forwards (or sideways, or however you want to see it) with systemd. It's not up to Debian to sway because other distributions didn't have a nicer system for setting this before (but IANADD, so perhaps they're already adopting the change.)

The same argument can be made from other distro viewpoints regarding /etc/syscofnig/, I imagine, but I know Debian and used it for my example.

Some of the emotional reaction comes, I think, from a feeling of being put upon by a heavy handed outsider. Who is Lennart (or what is systemd, if you prefer to say it that way) to come in to my distro and declare that my distro's config files are "old" and in need of replacement when I and my cohorts carefully chose a good way of solving the problem that has now been working for years?

"You are nonstandard, you will be assimilated. Your technological distinctiveness will be added to our own." --systemd, addressing udev, cron, initd, Debian, Suse, etc.

Poettering: The Biggest Myths

Posted Jan 28, 2013 18:07 UTC (Mon) by malor (guest, #2973) [Link]

Well, I'm a big Debian user too. I don't care what the actual configuration format is, but I do like stuff in /etc/default.

That said, I don't think putting locale.conf in /etc is that big a deal. There's plenty of other system-wide conf files in there; there's never been a full transition. The timezone file is in /etc, as an example, and I'd call that almost exactly identical in scope. I see no logical reason for timezone to be in /etc, with locale in /etc/default, but that's how it presently is. It seems likely to be backward compatibility driving that choice, rather than technical merit or logical consistency.

Like all other flavors of Unix, Debian is sloppy about where it puts configuration.... look at all the crap under /var/run, as an example. As much as I like it, and as much as I use it, I don't think we should try to paint it as the shining city on the hill. It's actually quite messy.

In this particular case, I guess I'd just sort of shrug and use symlinks. We can either stick them in default and link to them from /etc, or the other way around. I don't see it as being that big a deal.

Yeah, maybe it's a little rude on Poettering's part, but meh, not worth worrying about that much. Adding one more tiny inconsistency to a distro that already has so many doesn't strike me as a major aesthetic affront. You can argue that we'll never get to the hill if we keep moving away from it, but I don't think a symlink is really moving away.

That said, it seems a little silly for Poettering to refuse a patch to look in one more directory.


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