BoF Protocol

Michael Biebl mbiebl at
Wed Jun 13 14:56:23 UTC 2007

2007/6/13, Mark Brown <broonie at>:
> On Wed, Jun 13, 2007 at 03:07:29PM +0200, Michael Biebl wrote:
> > Whoever conceived and introduced this idea of disabling services via
> > /etc/default/$package deserves to be tarred and feathered. It is a
> > horribly broken idea. Unfortunately quite a few people adopted this
> > scheme.
> There's really not much option for daemons that can't be started by
> default.  Not installing the init script is generally unhepful for
> people who have actually provided the appropriate configuration while
> starting before that is obviously problematic.

Can you give some examples where a daemon can't be started by default?

I can only think of the two atm:
1.) Missing configuration data
- Easy solution: Check for the configuration, e.g. a missing config
file are missing setting in a config file. In that case, exit and
(optionally, probably based on the VERBOSE setting) give a warning
2.) Software that can be run in usermode *or* daemon mode, where
usermode is likely the more often used one, e.g. rsync, as Erich
pointed out.
- As Erich already proposed, this could be solved via a separate
package, shipping the init-script. Although I agree, this might be a
bit heavyweight.

> > Why is using /etc/default/$package bad:
> > - Because it makes your init script useless if it is disabled via
> > /etc/default/. You aren't able any more to start it manually.
> > - It makes the init system inconsistent and ambiguous
> > - It breaks graphical frontends. Imagine a user, that tries to
> > start/stop a service via a GUI, but nothing happens, because the init
> > script just exits.
> Note that this only applies to enabling and disabling services via the
> init scripts - other configuration such as additional arguments for
> daemons doesn't have the same issues.

Sure, I didn't question that. Providing configuration data for the
init script is a valid use of /etc/default/.
I hoped that I made it clear that I was only criticising the use of
/etc/default for enabling/disabling init scripts.


Why is it that all of the instruments seeking intelligent life in the
universe are pointed away from Earth?

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