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#26 2012-08-13 10:56:23

Awebb
Member
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 4,172

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

How much trouble would it be to write a parser for a central config file, that creates the seperate config files on the fly at boot time? How much trouble would it be to write a parser for a large central config file, that creates the seperate config files every time you change the central file? Maybe a vim script? Emacs hotkey? Isn't that why there are different config files, so the creation of front ends would be easier?

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#27 2012-08-13 13:18:38

bwat47
Member
Registered: 2009-10-07
Posts: 637

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

.:B:. wrote:

Because it's what set(s) Arch apart from other distro's. Take away pacman, it's BSD-esque ports twin ABS, and rc.conf, and there is pretty much nothing anymore that distinguishes Arch from whatever mainstream distro there is out there. Pacman is still a strong argument, as is ABS, but a lot of the userfriendliness of Arch is based solely on the fact you could just use one config file and be over and done with pretty much.

Whatever wave later adopters of Arch were/are riding, I'm pretty sure centralised configuration is one of the main reasons for a lot of the original userbase. But maybe they have moved on... Who knows. It surely pains me to see it all go to waste. Guess I'll be frequenting the "If not Arch, then what?" topic more often.

I fail to see how one config file "sets arch apart from other distros".

Its just a config file... what sets arch apart from other distros is the combination of simplicity, pacman, rolling release, vanilla packages, aur/abs and excellent community documentation, and those aren't going away, so I don't know why you are pondering on the "if you take those away what sets arch apart" question.

The new config files are just as simple and well documented. It took me like 1 minute to convert to using the new ones (not that you even have to, rc.conf still respects the deprecated options for now, I only did because I'm using systemd.). It hasn't taken me any longer to set up a new system with the new files compared to just rc.conf either.

Last edited by bwat47 (2012-08-13 13:27:38)

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#28 2012-08-13 14:12:13

brain0
Developer
From: Aachen - Germany
Registered: 2005-01-03
Posts: 1,382

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

bergersau wrote:

*/lib becoming a symlink

In my opinion, this is the only critical change you mentioned. There is some file system restructuring going on, and pacman couldn't handle most of it gracefully. This is what happened so far (may be incomplete).

  • /etc/mtab became a symlink to /proc/mounts, most of mtab's features are now handled by libmount and utab

  • /var/run and /var/lock have been replaced by symlinks into /run.

  • /lib has been completely merged into /usr/lib, making /lib a symlink.

And we're not yet finished, there is more to come:

  • /bin, /sbin, /usr/sbin merged into /usr/bin, they all become symlinks to /usr/bin.

I think handling that last change will be harder than the /lib merge, and we may take this more slowly. After that is done, we will hopefully stop breaking users' systems for a while.

Frankly, we should have done this years ago, and I had thought about it long before Fedora started discussing it publicly, but (in contrast to Tom, Dave and Allan) I was afraid because of all the breakage and the flames. This is a good thing and it will simplify our filesystem structure greatly. It will also remove lots of confusion and outdated conventions.

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#29 2012-08-13 14:22:27

karol
Archivist
Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 25,427

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

brain0 wrote:

Frankly, we should have done this years ago, and I had thought about it long before Fedora started discussing it publicly, but (in contrast to Tom, Dave and Allan) I was afraid because of all the breakage and the flames. This is a good thing and it will simplify our filesystem structure greatly. It will also remove lots of confusion and outdated conventions.

+1

The IMHO weird filesystem layout was one of the things I noticed when I came to Linux. I found little rhyme or reason to it, but unfortunately I've met some people who believed that Slackware or Debian is the only true distro and they were against the idea of modernizing it. Then I came to Arch and all is well now :-)

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#30 2012-08-13 15:18:22

89c51
Member
Registered: 2012-06-05
Posts: 648

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

brain0 wrote:
bergersau wrote:

*/lib becoming a symlink

In my opinion, this is the only critical change you mentioned. There is some file system restructuring going on, and pacman couldn't handle most of it gracefully. This is what happened so far (may be incomplete).

  • /etc/mtab became a symlink to /proc/mounts, most of mtab's features are now handled by libmount and utab

  • /var/run and /var/lock have been replaced by symlinks into /run.

  • /lib has been completely merged into /usr/lib, making /lib a symlink.

And we're not yet finished, there is more to come:

  • /bin, /sbin, /usr/sbin merged into /usr/bin, they all become symlinks to /usr/bin.

I think handling that last change will be harder than the /lib merge, and we may take this more slowly. After that is done, we will hopefully stop breaking users' systems for a while.

Frankly, we should have done this years ago, and I had thought about it long before Fedora started discussing it publicly, but (in contrast to Tom, Dave and Allan) I was afraid because of all the breakage and the flames. This is a good thing and it will simplify our filesystem structure greatly. It will also remove lots of confusion and outdated conventions.

i think it would be nice if one of the devs took the time to write a small article in the news section about all the changes that are going to happen in Arch in the coming months (or whatever the timeframe is). It might make the transition less painful for some users.

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#31 2012-08-13 15:21:17

bwat47
Member
Registered: 2009-10-07
Posts: 637

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

brain0 wrote:
bergersau wrote:

*/lib becoming a symlink

In my opinion, this is the only critical change you mentioned. There is some file system restructuring going on, and pacman couldn't handle most of it gracefully. This is what happened so far (may be incomplete).

  • /etc/mtab became a symlink to /proc/mounts, most of mtab's features are now handled by libmount and utab

  • /var/run and /var/lock have been replaced by symlinks into /run.

  • /lib has been completely merged into /usr/lib, making /lib a symlink.

And we're not yet finished, there is more to come:

  • /bin, /sbin, /usr/sbin merged into /usr/bin, they all become symlinks to /usr/bin.

I think handling that last change will be harder than the /lib merge, and we may take this more slowly. After that is done, we will hopefully stop breaking users' systems for a while.

Frankly, we should have done this years ago, and I had thought about it long before Fedora started discussing it publicly, but (in contrast to Tom, Dave and Allan) I was afraid because of all the breakage and the flames. This is a good thing and it will simplify our filesystem structure greatly. It will also remove lots of confusion and outdated conventions.

If only people would read the news/instructions before updating!

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#32 2012-08-13 15:24:14

ZekeSulastin
Member
Registered: 2010-09-20
Posts: 266

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

89c51 wrote:

i think it would be nice if one of the devs took the time to write a small article in the news section about all the changes that are going to happen in Arch in the coming months (or whatever the timeframe is). It might make the transition less painful for some users.

Starts here: https://mailman.archlinux.org/pipermail … 22625.html

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#33 2012-08-13 16:03:42

.:B:.
Forum Fellow
Registered: 2006-11-26
Posts: 5,819

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

bwat47 wrote:

I fail to see how one config file "sets arch apart from other distros".

Simplicity.

Its just a config file... what sets arch apart from other distros is the combination of simplicity, [...]

Yep: simplicity.

pacman, rolling release, vanilla packages, aur/abs and excellent community documentation, and those aren't going away, so I don't know why you are pondering on the "if you take those away what sets arch apart" question.

I am 'pondering' on that question because frankly that is how I (and no doubt a lot of other people) select a distro: objectively assessing pros and cons. There are people who just like to run what's cool, there are people who look at what fits them best.

The new config files are just as simple and well documented.

And they're all over the place.

It took me like 1 minute to convert to using the new ones (not that you even have to, rc.conf still respects the deprecated options for now, I only did because I'm using systemd.).

As far as figures of speech go... And not everyone is pining for systemd.


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#34 2012-08-13 16:27:45

karol
Archivist
Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 25,427

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

.:B:. wrote:

that is how I (and no doubt a lot of other people) select a distro: objectively assessing pros and cons.

One config file v. a few config files is not what I would call a huge deal.
Yes, there is a difference but whether it matters is up to you.

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#35 2012-08-13 16:48:20

.:B:.
Forum Fellow
Registered: 2006-11-26
Posts: 5,819

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

Indeed... So let us put to rest this discussion whether it's a breaking point or not smile. It is obviously different for everyone.


Got Leenucks? :: Arch: Power in simplicity :: Get Counted! Registered Linux User #392717 :: Blog thingy

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#36 2012-08-13 16:54:56

progandy
Member
Registered: 2012-05-17
Posts: 2,146

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

.:B:. wrote:

The new config files are just as simple and well documented.

And they're all over the place.

They are all in /etc. The only improvement I can think of, is that initscripts, systemd and systemd-tools could provide empty files containing a manapge reference and symlink the files in /etc/conf.d/.

Simplicity.

You can also see it as simplicity if one file is exactly meant for one purpose. vconsole.conf configures the console. network.conf the network, rc.conf the daemons, locale.conf the locales. This is simple and straight forward in a different way.

As far as figures of speech go... And not everyone is pining for systemd.

AFAIK many developers switched to systemd, so initscripts are not as easy to test and maintain anymore. Still, the devs provide sysvinit as the default init system.


By the way, this topic is not about your opinion regarding the changes but the amount of changes in the near future. The other topic is covered in countless other threads.

Last edited by progandy (2012-08-13 16:55:36)

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#37 2012-08-13 17:05:57

ANOKNUSA
Member
Registered: 2010-10-22
Posts: 2,141

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

The old /etc/rc.conf structure was essentially just an abstraction layer; from an Arch user's perspective it might seem that all the information in rc.conf was moved elsewhere, when as far as I can tell much of it was merely trimmed out to avoid superfluity.  Personally I have trouble seeing what the major issue is.  These files are set at install time and, in the case of most of them, probably never touched again by a majority of users.  How often do most people need to change the local time, console font, package localization and the like?  If one uses netcfg, then should the need arise one can just update the files in /etc/network.d and not worry about adding an entry to another file in another location.  If one wants to add new packages, pacman.conf and rc.conf are still there to add repositories and daemons as needed.  That these things are now decentralized is a sign of structural simplicity.

@ Allan: While I'm all for the filesystem changes, I will say that I'm a bit bothered by the symlinks for the filesystem changes, though, but knowing what they are and what changes to look forward to is a little reassuring.  C'mon, just let me live with my baseless assumptions--don't go all Theodore Hickman on me. tongue

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#38 2012-08-13 17:09:40

bwat47
Member
Registered: 2009-10-07
Posts: 637

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

.:B:. wrote:
bwat47 wrote:

I fail to see how one config file "sets arch apart from other distros".

Simplicity.

Its just a config file... what sets arch apart from other distros is the combination of simplicity, [...]

Yep: simplicity.

pacman, rolling release, vanilla packages, aur/abs and excellent community documentation, and those aren't going away, so I don't know why you are pondering on the "if you take those away what sets arch apart" question.

I am 'pondering' on that question because frankly that is how I (and no doubt a lot of other people) select a distro: objectively assessing pros and cons. There are people who just like to run what's cool, there are people who look at what fits them best.

The new config files are just as simple and well documented.

And they're all over the place.

It took me like 1 minute to convert to using the new ones (not that you even have to, rc.conf still respects the deprecated options for now, I only did because I'm using systemd.).

As far as figures of speech go... And not everyone is pining for systemd.

The simplicity or arch goes far beyond one config file, and it could be argued that the new config files are 'simpler" (descriptively named files with one purpose, as opposed to throwing a bunch of semi-related options into one file). And they aren't "all over the place", they are descriptively named, well documented, and all located in the same dir.

this change in no way makes arch less 'simple'.

Last edited by bwat47 (2012-08-13 17:14:18)

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#39 2012-08-13 22:27:32

cfr
Member
From: Cymru
Registered: 2011-11-27
Posts: 5,661

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

I'm curious. When I switched to Linux, I was already familiar with /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, /usr/sbin etc. because Mac OS X had them, too. Since OS X is supposed to essentially be BSD under the hood (my PowerBook always showed (c) Regents of the University of California at Berkeley during boot), I'm wondering what the contrast is. Unix, maybe? Or other kinds of BSD?


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#40 2012-08-14 09:55:24

brain0
Developer
From: Aachen - Germany
Registered: 2005-01-03
Posts: 1,382

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

Everyone who still complains about not finding configuration files, please refer to 'man archlinux'.

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#41 2012-08-14 11:13:08

WorMzy
Forum Moderator
From: Scotland
Registered: 2010-06-16
Posts: 5,147

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

wormzy@sakura[pts/2]~$ man archlinux
No manual entry for archlinux

Help! tongue


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#42 2012-08-14 12:21:25

brain0
Developer
From: Aachen - Germany
Registered: 2005-01-03
Posts: 1,382

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

WorMzy wrote:
wormzy@sakura[pts/2]~$ man archlinux
No manual entry for archlinux

Help! tongue

$ LC_MESSAGES=C pacman -Qo /usr/share/man/man7/archlinux.7.gz
/usr/share/man/man7/archlinux.7.gz is owned by initscripts 2012.08.2-1

That seems weird. Should also be present when I uninstall initscripts.

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#43 2012-08-14 13:40:14

tomegun
Developer
From: France
Registered: 2010-05-28
Posts: 661

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

The manpage should move to the filesystem package. Will get around to it. In the meantime I'd appreciate contributions to it ;-) (it was written as a stream-of-consciousness)

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#44 2012-08-14 14:56:17

hadrons123
Member
From: chennai
Registered: 2011-10-07
Posts: 1,249

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

I have to blame fedora for Everything!
I use fedora in one of my systems and they change things like crazy in every release.
Systemd, /usr move, udev etc.

fedora just has too much power, other distros are like sitting ducks.
I 'm not sure  whether following fedora is good or bad, at least for Arch linux.


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#45 2012-08-14 20:05:57

abstracity
Member
From: Houston, USA
Registered: 2007-08-08
Posts: 83

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

The old rc.conf is a contradiction of Arch's core principles. From the wiki, simplicity [is] without unnecessary additions, modifications, or complications and [the] system places precedence upon . . . clean, correct, simple code, rather than unnecessary patching, automation, eye candy or "newbie-friendliness." Pay attention to the keyword unnecessary, which appears twice in the article. A file that holds settings for multiple, distinct processes is unnecessary. Sure, maybe you would prefer or like a system to be automated and user friendly in this way, but it is not strictly necessary.

One reason Arch rejects unnecessary additions is that it makes life harder for its developers. When I started using Arch in 2007, it was often stated that "simplicity in Arch Linux is defined from a developer standpoint, rather than a user standpoint." I've always interpreted this as meaning that Arch developers often favor approaches that make developing the distro easier for them, in contrast to other distributions whose developers will accept added trouble--and hence complexity--if it makes life easier for their end-users.

In the case of systemd, it is easier to ship the software in its vanilla form--or as close to it as possible--rather than with additional abstraction layers such as those that Debian might add. An rc.conf file would be an abstract layer that upstream does not recommend, and it would be one more piece of complexity that the developers would have to fight with.

The elimination of rc.conf is a sign that Arch is progressing to a better state in which it abides more firmly to the Arch Philosophy.


Without error there can be no brilliancy. ― Emanuel Lasker

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#46 2012-08-14 20:53:27

Dheart
Member
From: Sofia, Bulgaria
Registered: 2006-10-26
Posts: 943

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

Well... I am also one of those in favour of having the "old" rc.conf, but... It's not like I can do something about it, the decision has apparently already been made. I've used arch for what? 6-7 years now and i don't like that change. I am not going to move away from arch, because of it, since it's by far the best distribution out there, but i feel like this is a major change that has gradually been going rather silently. No announcements, no roadmap, nothing. If maintaing rc.conf is such a pain someone could post an announcement that a contributor is wanted and I (or someone else) would step up.
To all of you that say that having an rc.conf contradicts with arch's philosophy then we might as well become Linux from Scratch, i think that's as vanilla as you can go.

That's just my oppinion though. I am quite happy with what Archlinux is and the quality of the rolling release distribution and announcements for all updates that require user interaction. The developers have done a great job with everything else, but not with this particular issue.


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No, you cannot hide nor flee
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#47 2012-08-14 21:17:30

abstracity
Member
From: Houston, USA
Registered: 2007-08-08
Posts: 83

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

Dheart wrote:

To all of you that say that having an rc.conf contradicts with arch's philosophy then we might as well become Linux from Scratch, i think that's as vanilla as you can go.

I don't understand that argument. First, Arch's definition of "vanilla" is with respect to the packages installed by pacman. An Arch system is vanilla if the installed packages were compiled and compressed in an unadulterated fashion. Removing pacman and transforming into something worse would not make us more vanilla.

Second, moving closer to something like Linux from Scratch would make us "non-user-centric," another contradiction of our principles. As Arch users, we want complete control ... over the system (wiki). A Scratch-like setup without a good package manager would not enable efficient control of the file system. Yes, we could be in control if we absolutely wanted to, but not efficiently so, and we do care about efficiency, right? In contrast, Arch gives us pacman, which allows for almost godlike control over every file outside of /home in a super-easy way.


Without error there can be no brilliancy. ― Emanuel Lasker

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#48 2012-08-14 21:45:31

Dheart
Member
From: Sofia, Bulgaria
Registered: 2006-10-26
Posts: 943

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

My point is that the purpose of distribution is to make linux more than just randomly compiled and installed software and extends to more than just a package management (However great that package management is). Arguing what is pure arch philosophy and what isn't is not going to get us anywhere. The philosophy of Arch linux hasn't changed over the years, yet rc.conf was present and AFAIK it was something supported by the creator of the distribution. I don't think it does justice to make that file sound like an ubuntu like tool.

A decision was made, that file was easy to use, great, useful. Now it isn't. We might as well remove it and have rc.local start daemons. Also you can't really say that rc.conf is being removed because it conflicts with arch principles when (relatively) recently a rc.d tool was introduced, which functions as a little more than a symlink to /etc/rc.d and is in fact an abstraction and therefore unarch-ish.

I don't want to argue about purity and philosophy of arch. I just want to hear a logical explanation why this decision was made, and why were there no announcements that concerned the long term goal to completely get rid of rc.conf.


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No, you cannot hide nor flee
You know what I'm looking for
Pleasure your torture, I will endure...

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#49 2012-08-14 22:45:29

.:B:.
Forum Fellow
Registered: 2006-11-26
Posts: 5,819

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

I want to thank the devs for finally biting the bullet and expediting the official transition to systemd.

Details in the developer ML today (and probably for a few days to follow).

I'm not saying I'm looking forward to it, because I have no complaints about our present init system, but if it's a seamless transition... All for the better.


Got Leenucks? :: Arch: Power in simplicity :: Get Counted! Registered Linux User #392717 :: Blog thingy

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#50 2012-08-14 23:01:47

lordmetroid
Member
Registered: 2009-09-27
Posts: 74

Re: Rate of change in Arch's structure.

I like my system simple and on the edge. As far as I can tell systemd is far more complex to configure the system than by a few lines in rc.conf.

I suppose I will just have to test the new gadget out before I can say how I really feel.

Last edited by lordmetroid (2012-08-14 23:07:51)

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