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Old 12th March 2005, 13:58   #336
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Join Date: Jan 2002
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Some systems necessitate complex settings, though, and any generalised system should allow them in simple ways. It is trivially easy to automatically parse a file like the one you mention into XML, but I agree that it adds an extra layer of complication. And I don't agree with using scripts for representation -- it's not really standard in any way, and if nothing else nobody will agree on a language to use.

What I'd favour would replace /etc/, and I feel I have my reasons. This comes into why it seems like a "zen crime", though -- it breaks the UNIX file metaphor. "Everything's a file, files you can edit are text" is basically the system upon which UNIX is based, and it works well with the systems that were available at its inception. I do feel, however, that we have better technologies available now, and it would be very nice if we could build a more modern system design from them. Breaking compatibility, or moving to a different system, will always have vehement complaints from users of the current systems, though. And sysadmins are perhaps the most zealous users of all. You could just move everyone to a compatible configuration and merge the XML file structures to configure (GConf does something similar, but with non-standard formats too).

It is something I'm genuinely interested in, though, and I do like to hear well thought-out criticism of ideas. As for your design quote, though, my argument is that what we'd be taking away is a myriad of incompatible configuration formats and so on.

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