Configuration suggestion...

Michael H. Warfield mhw at
Mon Aug 10 18:42:15 IST 2009

Hey all, Julian,

	I was just in the process of upgrading MailScanner on several machines
and had been doing a few other similar things to some other packages and
had a thought regarding the configuration file.  Right now, we use the
configuration upgrade script and some diffing and what not (I'm on an
rpm based system - Fedora 10).

	Maybe this has been brought up in the past and dismissed and maybe
there are good reasons for not doing it or may it can be done, I just
don't know how...  But...  What about a separate, site specific,
configuration file?  Keep the main file with all the default options but
then have the admin put customized options in a separate file and not
modify the main file?

	Several other packages I know do it this way and it makes updating so
much easier and less error prone.  The main file would then have
instructions to put customized values into the site file while it still
retains all the possible options and their defaults and the detailed
instructions.  The admin can make the site file as complex or as simple
as he likes.  Updates then merely require a check that the main file has
not been alter and then a simple replacement.  Value checks and warnings
could still be applied but then it would be to both the main and site
specific file.  Maybe make the configuration file(s) a colon separated
string, like a PATH, with the last value read from any of them holding

	Yes, there is the possibility that the user might have some
incompatible option in a site file that could cause a version skew
problem.  Given the normal tunable parameters, this would seem pretty
unlikely and could be caught in the update check for default files.

	It would certainly make packaging for a distribution much easier and
updates much more convenient for the system administrator.

	Just a thought.

Michael H. Warfield (AI4NB) | (770) 985-6132 |  mhw at
   /\/\|=mhw=|\/\/          | (678) 463-0932 |
   NIC whois: MHW9          | An optimist believes we live in the best of all
 PGP Key: 0xDF1DD471        | possible worlds.  A pessimist is sure of it!

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