[Freedombox-discuss] Chef and Puppet experts?

Jonas Smedegaard dr at jones.dk
Wed Sep 14 19:07:09 UTC 2011

On 11-09-14 at 11:07am, 
FreedomBox-Discuss.NeoPhyte_Rep at OrdinaryAmerican.net wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 1:48 AM, Philip Hands - phil at hands.com wrote:


> I think what is said below may be a more important topic [thank 
> cfengine or Puppet], however.
> > Having said that, I'm with Jonas and his assertion that effort would 
> > generally be more efficiently spent if devoted to making 
> > preseeding/debconf scripting more flexible for any package where 
> > you're being tempted to use any of these for editing config files.
> In general, I favor a minimal number of tools for any given purpose. 
> So, if preseeding/debconf works in that direction, let's work on 
> making it happen more often.  Can you point us to a discussion of how 
> preseeding is done?

Debconf is the interface Debian packages use for configurable parts.

Searching for "debconf preseeding" at https://duckduckgo.com/ revealed 
these fine pages:


Oddly, my favorite did not appear on first page of search results:


Beware that debian-installer is a special case: Above documents gives a 
good introduction to how preseeding works, but many of the actual values 
typically preseeded are passed to the install routines, not Debian 
packages.  We currently avoid debian-installer as it is quite slow on 
embedded devices.

If you do not want to play with full system installs, then instead play 
with installing single packages, pay close attention to how you answer 
any and all questions asked during install, and afterwards inspect the 
debconf values tied to that package: If you "preseed" those same answers 
_before_ installing the package, no questions are asked.

Actually implementing debconf handling for a package is part of the art 
of Debian packaging.  There are plenty of documentation on that if you 
are interested, and also several places to get help online.  If you are 
not (yet) interested in doing Debian packaging, but want something 
changed that a package do not offer Debconf for, then temporarily(!) use 
Puppet, CFengine or simply write a shell script - and then share your 
hacks here, to encourage others rewriting as patches to do debconf 
handling in the package itself.

See also 
which (among other things, and if you have the package apt-utils 
installed) fetches debconf values for your running system.

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

 [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private
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