[Clamav-users] Problem with internal logger

Anthony Peacock a.peacock at chime.ucl.ac.uk
Fri Jun 2 11:11:36 IST 2006

Hi Julian,

Julian Field wrote:
> On 2 Jun 2006, at 08:39, Anthony Peacock wrote:
>> Hi Julian,
>> Julian Field wrote:
>>> On 1 Jun 2006, at 16:30, Kai Schaetzl wrote:
>>>> Julian Field wrote on Thu, 1 Jun 2006 14:04:52 +0100:
>>>>> My easy-to-install ClamAV+SA package configures freshclam.conf and
>>>>> spamd.conf for you, by commenting out the "Example" lines.
>>>> and then sets the mirror to US ?
>>> No, as I don't know what country you might be in. It just gets it 
>>> working for you, saving new users a nasty catch which will confuse 
>>> them entirely. Doing things like this annoys me, as they don't 
>>> produce a nice error message telling the user what they need to do to 
>>> alleviate the problem. It's a case of "Switch this option on to make 
>>> anything work, default is off". I know I do it myself, but I do at 
>>> least generate a polite error message which tells the user they need 
>>> to set their company name in MailScanner.conf.
>>> I am considering removing it from MailScanner.
>>> If the %org-name% has not been configured, then I just use the domain 
>>> name by using Sys::Hostname::Long which is already needed by 
>>> SpamAssassin so most people have it installed already. I replace the 
>>> hostname with www to get the website address, and put the same in 
>>> %org-long-name% as %org-name%.
>>> Does that sound rather better than the current "I'm not going to 
>>> start" behaviour.
>> I wouldn't really be in favour of this.
>> A side-effect of the current behaviour is that it forces the person 
>> installing the system to at least open and look at the config file first.
>> I don't think anyone should be installing something as important as 
>> mailscanner without at least understanding what the default options 
>> are doing.
> But I really hate all those systems which are "broken by default". Very 
> often after installing something I want to try starting it up to see if 
> it runs at all or whether I still have stuff left to install such as 
> other Perl modules in MailScanner's case. The fact that "service 
> MailScanner start" doesn't work until I start wading into config files, 
> of which I know neither the name nor the location, really annoys me with 
> other systems.
> So I don't want to inflict the same annoyance on other people.

I agree with you on those systems that just don't work or give 
uninformative errors.  I fully understand your wish to make this as easy 
as possible for people with minimal experience.  And if that makes the 
difference between completely insecure servers and servers secured by a 
default MailScanner configuration then I completely support that. 
Helping people who don't know what they are doing to setup a secure 
server will make all of our lives easier.  Where we disagree is how much 
of this should be exposed to the person installing the system.

We have had similar discussion to this in the past.  I respect your view 
(I just have a slightly different take on it), and really appreciate the 
work you have put into making a great tool.

> I want the system to be intelligent and make up sensible settings for me 
> until I find where the config files are and how to edit them.

I think that picking sensible defaults is a good idea.  I haven't used 
your install script, so I don't know if it requires any user 
interaction, but one way of picking sensible defaults, and exposing the 
fact that there is a config file and it should be checked could be to 
have a call & response section at the start of the install script.

Work out the defaults as you suggest above and present these so that 
pressing return uses them.  Much like the build process for Perl (but 
not as long winded).  Something like:

MailScanner needs some basic information to run.  Please supply the 
following values, press enter to accept the default.  You can change 
these and other important configuration details after installation by 
editing the configuration file at /opt/MailScanner/etc/MailScanner.conf.

Organisation name [CHIME]:

Long Organisation name [CHIME]:

Web address [www.chime.ucl.ac.uk]:

> Always imagine yourself as a complete newbie installing it for the first 
> time, only half knowing what you are doing with a command-line at all 
> having been brought up on Windows systems.

<shudder>One of the legacies of Windows will be a generation of people 
who think being a system administrator only involves running setup.exe 
and clicking 'next' in the installation wizard.

My gripe is not about making life easier for people or about picking 
sensible defaults it is about somehow making them aware that more 
thought should be put into setting up a system at the same time.

Anthony Peacock
CHIME, Royal Free & University College Medical School
WWW:    http://www.chime.ucl.ac.uk/~rmhiajp/
"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that
English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow
words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways
to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new
vocabulary."  -- James D. Nicoll

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