[fhs-discuss] Common directory for configuration files below /usr

Thorsten Kukuk kukuk at suse.de
Wed Jun 12 09:16:37 UTC 2019


over 5 years ago, there was a discussion about OSTree and /usr/etc.
Unfortunatley, this did not lead to an agreement, instead hiding this
below /usr/lib or /usr/share was suggested.

During the years, the problem didn't go away or solved themself, but
with many additional Linux Distributions using atomic updates, the
problem got really worse. Everybody has to solve the same problem,
everybody is coming up with their own, incompatible solution. Which
reminds me and many others on the pre-FHS times: you have to learn
every location new on every Linux Distribution.

And not only for distributions using atomic updates this is getting a
real problem. Many applications try to solve the problem with updating
configuration files at their own, that's why we have many directories
with configuration files in /usr/lib: sysctl.d, pam.d, modprobe.d, binfmt.d,
... and many, many more which are not simple detectable.

So the common, main feedback I got in the last time in talks with people
is: they want to have the configuration files in one place (maybe two,
/etc and /usr/...), so that they are easy findable and grep-able.
We are currently far away from that, and it's getting worse every day.
There are quite some people who would like to clean this mess up immeaditly,
but there is one big, blocking issue: there is no common directory for
configuration files below /usr.

There were many ideas. One was, like already suggested on this list,
/usr/share/defaults. In the end it has a big problem: configuration files
are not necessary shareable between different architectures or hosts,
only thing about passwd and group.
/usr/lib/ is already overcrowded, people would like to clean that up 
and only use it for object files, libraries and internal binaries, but
no longer all stuff we don't have a better place for.

So there are two suggestions from the discussions:
1. /usr/etc
2. /usr/sysconfig

/usr/etc is still in use by some Linux Distributions and UNIX like 
systems. But many people don't like it.
/usr/sysconfig is something new and the feedback was positive, at least
many people can life with it.

What are the opinions here?

If you want to have more background why I'm bringing this up again:
contains an analysis of the current situation and how things need to
be changed for better support of updating configuration files.


Thorsten Kukuk, Distinguished Engineer, Senior Architect SLES & MicroOS
SUSE Linux GmbH, Maxfeldstr. 5, 90409 Nuernberg, Germany
GF: Felix Imendoerffer, Mary Higgins, Sri Rasiah, HRB 21284 (AG Nuernberg)

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