Chip Norkus wd at
Sat Aug 2 19:19:15 PDT 2003

On Saturday 02 August 2003 08:44 pm, Kurt B. Kaiser wrote:

> To me, one of the key points about an OS is how well the package
> management system works and how much time is going to be spent keeping
> the system current with the errata.  I can understand why it's
> necessary to drop support on older releases, but how easy is it to
> upgrade to the next release and then keep it patched?  Right now too
> much time is spent with mergemaster grovelling over /etc.  Why should
> I have to merge passwd and group files because a system user or group
> was added at the new release?  Why not have separate files for system
> and user?

Or why not have a more intelligent merge system that will handle tasks 
like this for you?  I don't think you need to separate system and user 
account spaces so much as you need a merge tool that will say "hmm, okay, 
this is the standard configuration and this is what the user has added.. 
there don't seem to be conflicts between the two, so let's merge them."  
I think an intelligent merge tool is one which has modules with 
understanding of different file formats.  So you've got your merge tool 
with the 'passwd' or 'group' modules which notices that a new package 
needs to add a new user.  It makes sure there are no obvious conflicts 
(uid, uname, homedir) and then does the merge for you.  I think that's 
possible and fairly practical with a bit of work.

> Most Windows users don't upgrade, they just buy a new computer.
> Most RH users seem to re-install rather than attempt an upgrade
> across a major release.  With BSD and Debian, there's hope.


chip norkus; renaissance hacker;                wd at xxxxxxxx
"question = (to) ? be : !be;" --Shakespeare

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