[lsb-discuss] Thinking about future LSB features

Theodore Tso tytso at mit.edu
Fri Feb 13 17:37:40 PST 2009

On Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 10:07:36PM +0000, Anthony W. Youngman wrote:
> That's why I said that the location of the user-specific files was to be 
> specified in the global file ...
> In other words "if the global file doesn't say, assume it's in ~. If you 
> want LSB conformance then you have to specify it. If you specify it, the 
> default has to be ~/.etc".

I think you are *seriously* overstating the power of the LSB to
dictate to application programmers where to put config files.  And
keep in mind, this is really outside of the scope of the primary
reason of the LSB existence, which is to help define a portable binary
platform so that applications can run on multiple distributions
without needing to recompile.  And if we were to tell a distribution
that they need to modify several hundred packages in their
distribution to use a different location to store application dot
files to satisfy some pet scheme, they would just tell us to f*** off
--- and rightly so.

You might have better luck trying to get Debian to put something like
this into Debian Policy, but even Debian (which is willing to strip
out FSF documentation and make installs hard-to-do for people with
Broadcom networking cards that require firmware to download packages)
will tell you that they aren't willing to force things like this into
policy until the majority of the packages are already conforming to
the new way of doing things.  And I like to think we are more
reasonable and practical about things than Debian.  :-)

This is something that if you care a lot about, you will need to spend
a lot of time advocating for this new scheme, and provide patches to
various packages, etc.   It's not something that can be legislated.

I could imagine trying to come up with a new home directory "FHS" and
try to get community buy-in, but even then, this is something that is
going take multiple years for people to migrate towards, and there
will always be some files that will probably always be in the home
directory.  After all, files like .profile, etc., have been around
literally for three decades or more.

> We should be trying to *L*E*A*D*. That doesn't mean being a 
> dictator (that wouldn't work with Linux, anyway), but we should be 
> "doing a Linus". In other words, we should be saying "we think this is 
> the way to go. Any objections, anyone?" 

You're forgetting that at the end of the day, Linus *can* simply wave
his benevolent dictator wand decide things --- but even then, he can
only do it for the code he controls.  It doesn't work for code that is
outside his control --- look at all of the stupid things gcc has done
in the past and is still doing, despite Linus's rather cogent
arguments about some of gcc's idiocies are, well, just stupid.

							- Ted

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