[lug] System configuration files

Jeff Schroeder jeff at neobox.net
Tue Jul 29 16:28:37 MDT 2003

Zan wrote:

> Don't use /var for configuration files.  /var is for changing data
> files.  /etc is the place for configuration data.  /etc is like the
> Registry in Windows.

My understanding is that /var is for application data (and 
configuration) that is changeable but must be preserved over boots.  In 
that regard it's different than /tmp, which should be used for 
transient data which can be deleted arbitrarily without serious side 

As an example, MySQL, BIND, OpenLDAP, and many other programs use /var 
(well, /usr/local/var) for their configurations.  That's what made me 
think it would be a logical place... /var, /usr/var, and /usr/local/var 
are essentially the same thing, although they're used in slightly 
different ways.

However, I agree that /etc is like a "system registry" (ugh) and already 
contains a lot of configuration.

In a larger sense, I guess I'm a little surprised this issue hasn't been 
addressed by the *nix community more-- it seems like software 
developers just pick somewhat arbitrary places for their configuration 
files.  I honestly can't believe I'm the first person to stumble across 
this problem... ;)

Thanks for the insight,

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