Configuration files

Tony Baechler tony at
Thu Feb 21 09:57:37 UTC 2008

Yes, I would agree.  Expanding on this, FreeBSD always installs ports 
under /usr/local no matter what.  This way all files specific to the OS 
go in /etc and all additional ports go in /usr/local/etc.  It's the same 
with documentation, binaries, and such.  Debian never puts anything in 
/usr/local because that is set aside for the local administrator.  
Debian packages are never supposed to touch any files in /usr/local if 
my understanding is correct.  The problem you have with just letting 
things go where they will is that you end up with multiple binaries for 
the same program.  I ran into this with an ftp server.  The Debian 
version went to /usr/sbin and the local version went to 
/usr/local/sbin.  The Debian version kept being called because it was 
first in the path.  Yet another example is Qmail.  It expects a set of 
subdirs under /var/qmail and doesn't go in /usr/local at all, even 
though it probably should.

Geoff Shang wrote:
> The issue here is that different systems have different defaults.  
> Debian packages have a standard place for putting things.  Tarballs 
> usually install to /usr/local but not always.  Other systems or 
> distributions will install to other places.  I don't have anyhting in 
> /opt on my system for example but some do.
> You basically have two options.  First, you can put everything in the 
> same place so you know where to find it, though you can run into 
> trouble if you mix packages with source tarballs.  The second is to 
> let things go where they go and live with it.
> I usually do the latter, partly because I prefer to install tarballs 
> to /usr/local and let packages install to other places, and partly 
> because I'm too lazy to bother with configure options, etc.

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