[arch-general] My end-user $0.02 on /etc/rc.conf splitting.

Heiko Baums lists at baums-on-web.de
Mon Jul 23 04:44:02 EDT 2012

Am Mon, 23 Jul 2012 09:36:05 +0200
schrieb Nicolas Sebrecht <nsebrecht at piing.fr>:

> Sounds like you (don't take this a personal critism, you're not alone)
> have poor administration practices.

First, I do have administration practices.

> Editing multiple files instead of
> one in not a problem at all. In fact, it's the exactly opposite.
> The pain is the need to merge new changes while updating. Some tools
> (like pacdiff) can help with the job but it's very frustrating to have
> one configuration file and merge lot of changes in it. Especially when
> it comes to cosmetic/comments changes.
> Having one big configuration file means it's much easier to make
> mistakes in it and have strong problems because of that.  Dedicated
> files to services/requirements make such problems more isolated. So,
> we're going a better robustness, better expectations compliance for
> new incoming users (and admins having more than one arch desktop to
> maintain).

You are right when it comes to such long config files like for Apache
or PHP. But we are talking about rc.conf. That is not a long
configuration file. And I really don't see how there are chances to
make mistakes.

Btw., chances that those merging tools make mistakes are much bigger
with such big config files like e.g. php.ini. And it takes a lot more
time to check if they did their job correctly.

> Who is manually editing each configuration one after the other need
> lessons on administration tasks.

I don't think so. Who manually edits config files just don't trust all
those merging tools, because he has made bad experience with those
tools or has other reasons and wants to keep full control over his
config files. And believe me, checking if the merging tools made what
they are expected to do is much more time consuming than manually
editing those files.

How many times do you get a .pacnew file? And how big are those files

I don't need to edit those files so many times. And if I have only one
short file like /etc/rc.conf I have all my settings at a glance and
only need to type "nano /etc/rc.conf" only once instead of several
times "nano /etc/vconsole.conf", "nano /etc/hostname.conf" or whatever.
This is a lot more time consuming. Btw., in several cases a simple "mv
something.conf.pacnew something.conf is sufficient.

But this all (I mean the whole discussion here) is complaining on a high
level, a very high level.

And Tom already said several times, that he will support both the
single rc.conf and the separate config files. So I really don't
understand this discussion. I just hope that those single files are not
created by default or will be integrated into systemd, so that they are
only installed if systemd is installed.

> If merging tools are not good enough,
> then let's improve them. But please all, don't make a shoot on current
> changes.

Then improve the merging tools. I haven't complained about them, and I
don't use them. You brought them in.

> What Tom is doing is exactly what most of ArchLinux users
> expect.

That's why there is such a long discussion and why most people
write that they are worried about it. I would rather say, it's what you

I have experience with both and principally don't have a problem with
both ways. I just say that I prefer one single /etc/rc.conf, because
it's clearer and easier to maintain.

> And the philosophy, KISS principle or whatever theory that you
> think is good in Archlinux is not beeing broken at all.

One single /etc/rc.conf is a bit more KISS. But like I said that's
complaining on a very high level.


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