[lug] System configuration files

Nate Duehr nate at natetech.com
Wed Jul 30 11:20:45 MDT 2003

Jeff Schroeder wrote:
> 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... ;)

The reason is... in a larger environment, the machines are probably 
built to a standard that's specific to the organization... so it becomes 
a non-issue... if everyone at your place of work knows where everything 
is, the machines are all built the same, and you have a document to hand 
any "new guy or gal"... it's usually not a problem.

Most places I've worked have decided to leave things where ever the 
distro they're using put them and added on things go in /opt or 
/usr/local.  So the distro makes all the "decisions" for you in this 
regard.  No commercial entity I've yet worked for builds their own 
distro, although it certainly could be done... or something like Gentoo 

The only risk here is when a distro decides for whatever (good or bad) 
reason to move something major that all your custom software looks at... 
then you're stuck if your custom stuff can't be pointed at the new stuff 
easily (run-time variables for where particular files are found are 
pretty much a MUST if you're trusting the distro makers - or eventually 
you'll get burned).

So really -- only folks building a distro from scratch really have to 
concern themselves much with the problem... thus, why it gets so little 
attention from anyone else.  (GRIN)  Those of us just plugging away with 
a hundred machines in a server farm don't have time for worrying about 
whether the distro chose the "right" place to put things, as long as all 
the boxes are consistent.

Make sense?  :-)

And of course, symlinks are your friend if things get really out of hand 
and you need a nasty/quick fix.  :-P

Nate Duehr, nate at natetech.com

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati
"When all else fails, play dead."

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