[Resolvconf-devel] Bug#414692: resolvconf: kills resolv.conf on initial installation plus user experience report

Eduard Bloch blade at debian.org
Tue Mar 13 11:25:27 CET 2007

Package: resolvconf
Version: 1.37
Severity: normal


I just installed resolvconf on my desktop machine to test how it playes
together with my vpnc package which recommends it. I am disappointed.
The initial experience is AS CRAPPY as with the first versions, and I
remember having reported it.

Why? Let me demonstrate the slightly biased "first" user experience. I
install resolvconf.  Everything still works. I set no extra settings. I
reboot the system the next day. Uh, what happens? All DNS is broken. I
read /etc/resolv.conf and see it been suddenly shreddered. I read the
contents. Nothing usefull. Reading the manpage.  Nothing useful. Doing
dpkg-reconfigure. Just some random blah, blah hints and nothing useful
to rescue my resolv.conf contents. Why should I care about some amok
running scripts? Further, your miss the point in those texts. You say
facts in the beginning, followed by a long text, then the question comes
in a separate window. What's the point again? Oh, I forgot already what
exactly it was because the relevant part was in the beginning of the
long blah-blah in the other window. You know, the short-term memory

But only now in the third debconf window there appears some hint about
where my original file is gone. Great. And now it asks me to "prepare
/etc/resolv.conf or not". Good, I say NO and expect it to restore
/etc/resolv.conf again. Simple logical implication. What happens? It did
NOT RESTORE it. WTF? Okay, doing what the message said and removing the
crap. "apt-get remove resolvconf". Great, the file is restored. The
systems does work again!

Sorry, developers, I understand that the current program concept is ok
from your developer's POV and I know that it works (I am using it vpnc,
great stuff) but it sucks from (my) users point of view. And it does not
work if there IS NO regular DNS data provider like dhclient feeding
resolvconf after reboot, which is the case here. I need it the package
for vpnc only, I install it because of the package Suggests: and I get a
booby trap instead.

Instead of killing the original file which has a critical sytem
function! and confusing the user with messages, you better should:

 - tell user what exactly is happens in the terms which look important
   from his POV. Fscked file is fscked file. Broken DNS is broken DNS.
   I don't care which code beauty is behind the machinery, it has to
   work and tell the user that it may break and when it may break.
 - don't ask non-important questions first, like the one about
   rogue scripts. Further, you can look whether there are rogue scripts
   remaining on the system BEFORE asking this question. Why do you
   bother the user if you can check that? I am pretty sure none of the
   packages listed in the explanation is installed on my system.
 - make sure the original contents is merged into the resolv.conf
   contents unless some content provider actually provided one OR the
   users clearly decided to hide the original contents. A simple
   selection is enough, like:
   "your resolv.conf file currently contains valid DNS data (see below).
   _placeholder_ # only the valid lines, comments weeded out
   DNS data providers using resolvconf may need to replace the current
   file contents and add new or alternative data. However, not keeping
   the current data may lead to a system state where DNS will not work
   unless some package like DHCP client feeds resolvconf with fresh
   What should happen with them?
   [*] Use this data unless additional data is installed
   [ ] Use this data and merge with additional data when possible
   [ ] Make a backup and drop the data, use provided information only
   [ ] Don't use resolvconf management at all

 - shortly outline the problem in 5-15 words right before the question,
   i.e. in the SAME dialog window
 - Do exactly what the debconf message says and consider all cases and
   all implications. "Prepare Foo -> No!" means not having the file
   prepared.  No matter whether it is a symlink already, or not.

-- System Information:
Debian Release: 4.0
  APT prefers unstable
  APT policy: (500, 'unstable'), (500, 'testing'), (1, 'experimental')
Architecture: amd64 (x86_64)
Shell:  /bin/sh linked to /bin/bash
Kernel: Linux 2.6.20
Locale: LANG=de_DE.UTF-8, LC_CTYPE=de_DE.UTF-8 (charmap=UTF-8)

Versions of packages resolvconf depends on:
ii  coreutils                     5.97-5.3   The GNU core utilities
ii  debconf [debconf-2.0]         1.5.12     Debian configuration management sy
ii  lsb-base                      3.1-23     Linux Standard Base 3.1 init scrip

resolvconf recommends no packages.

-- debconf information:
* resolvconf/downup-interfaces:
  resolvconf/link-tail-to-original: false
* resolvconf/linkify-resolvconf: true
* resolvconf/disable-bad-hooks: true

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