[Freedombox-discuss] How do we handle package upgrades on the Freedombox?

Sunil Mohan sunil at medhas.org
Wed Apr 16 18:12:33 UTC 2014

On Tuesday 15 April 2014 03:35 AM, Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
> When Plinth directly edits configuration files, it is an administrators' 
> tool.
> Solution is to have Plinth only ever communicate with debconf!

I can see that many uses cases for configuration can be done in this
manner. However, I could not picture debconf fitting well in other
cases. How are the following use cases likely to work?

- Probing system status before setting configuration. For example, a
script configuring firewall on the system needs to know how many and
what kind of network interfaces are available on the system. Plinth
needs to retrieve the status of the system and possibly present it to
the user before setting the configuration.

- Current state of the system is also required for monitoring and
diagnostics. Is the firewall installed, configured and running? Plinth
like most other administrator tools needs to show the current state of
the system and not just the intended state of the system as stored in
debconf answers.

- Variable configuration. Plinth needs to connect to a wireless network.
It might need to increase the number of questions to be asked in debconf
when it sees that more wireless networks need to be configured. It
appears that debconf questions need to be predefined in debian/templates.

- Changing the running state the of the system and not its
configuration. For example, Plinth needs to enable the panic mode in a
firewall that is only applicable at runtime and changes are not permanent.

- User management, permissions etc. I suppose this is outside the
purview of debconf. Plinth does these.

I apologize in advance if these are repeated questions as I am unaware
of the previous discussions on the matter.

If automatic upgrading of packages over stable releases is our primary
concern would it not be easier to ship a configuration upgrade tool that
respects the administrators configuration and interprets it in context
of newer version of the software? The pagekite author wrote on such tool
to handle automatic upgrade during major configuration change. Using
utilities like augeus reduce the effort in writing such tools.

Thank you,


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