random thoughts on software installation

Colin Walters walters at redhat.com
Thu May 17 21:31:37 UTC 2007

On Thu, 2007-05-17 at 23:39 +0300, Ahmed Kamal wrote:
>         conflict with others.  But the difference is a lot more
>         fundamental -
>         for this kind of software, downloading the package is only the
>         *very 
>         first* step in actually getting it working.  You have to
>         configure
>         these, and there's no way around that.  
> Well, why not start integrating pre-configured "puppet recipes" that
> configure the server software (postfix for example) for popular
> configurations. 

Ah, interesting idea, yeah.  A long time ago when I was a Debian
developer and into server software, I wrote the "debconf" bits to
configure postfix with a few common scenarios, although less complex
ones than you're suggesting.

I think it wasn't hugely successful (and the same is true of debconf in
general) because a good number of admins want more flexibility, and
control/understanding of what's going on.  Now certainly it's not
exactly the same thing as what you're talking about, but it just
reminded me.  Could be that puppet is a better technology for this sort
of stuff than debconf is though.

I guess what I would maybe think about is more generally allowing people
to attach files like sample configurations or their puppet scripts to
the package wiki pages.  Wouldn't it be cool if Fedora made it really
easy to edit the "http://servers.fedoraproject.org/wiki/postfix" wiki
page and add "Joe Bob's Tutorial on setting up Postfix+ClamAV", and then
if he made it all into a puppet script he could add it there.  Right now
you often see pages like this that are kind of random - wherever the
sysadmin happened to find web hosting.

Actually just for the very first cut I think having a defined wiki page
for server software where people could add just random content like:
"Here's what I did to make my config work with SELinux on FC6..."
"If you're setting up Postfix, be sure to check out [[ClamAV]] too."
in addition to a link to the upstream website's common installation
instructions or other tutorials around the web would be a pretty nice
first step.  Things like comment/discussion boards, reviews,
configuration file attachements could come later.

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