Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (770 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Separate /usr?
On 8/14/2012 5:13 PM, Robin Klitscher wrote:
On 15/08/12 02:37, David C. Rankin wrote:

I agree with Rodney, if this is something that Linux wants to make work, then we
should all provide comment on the proposed FHS changes to insure the end product
is something that makes sense to implement, instead of just becoming another
well intentioned idea at the end of a link ending in .pdf...

Even to a non-technical user like myself, from comments in this thread
it's blindingly obvious that a published standard and the manner in
which some distributions are implemented have parted company, or are
about to. This is worrying, for how can it be good?

If the standard is inappropriate, let it be amended accordingly. If it
is irrelevant, or otherwise to be ignored, why put effort into
maintaining it? Instead, let developers do what they fancy and to the
devil with consistency, thus adding yet another layer of confusion to
the existing anarchy that already limits the appeal of the Linux
operating system as a serious contender in the field.

Otherwise, if the standard is valid, let it be adhered to so the results
are not only understood but consistent. And in that case, doesn't it
make more sense to put effort into ensuring the standard is appropriate
than simply to dismiss it as a sideshow?

I don't know - I'm only asking .......

Unfortunately, that "anarchy" is an indelible facet of one of the major values of unix and linux in the first place.

The benefits of standardization are obvious, but it should also be obvious that no single standard can serve every need.

Too much standardization about too many of the details only comes at the expense of flexibility and suitability for other jobs. That is why the standards *try* not to define too many details, but rather to define features, and leave it up to the system how to provide those features. They do of course define a lot of details, but they try not to wherever possible.

They don't say a file will have exactly this name and be found in exactly this directory, they say a file that does this job will exist somewhere, and this rule can be used to determine where it is on the spot. For instance, they don't say a binary will be found in a certain directory, they say a variable named $PATH will be searched for binaries. And they don't say how $PATH will get filled. There is no universal file or set of files that sets $PATH. That's on purpose. You _want_ that.

Unix is not a product, it's a tool box. You are _supposed_ to assemble the tools in your own ways because it's _supposed_ to be agnostic enough to be useful for anyone and anything without knowing ahead of time what those needs might be. You are _supposed_ to be able to make a race car or a dump truck or a bicycle out of it, or whatever you happen to need at the time that no one could have predicted before hand. Rather than try to think of everything and fail because that's impossible, they just provide intentionally open-ended tools, and so you are well served when 20 years later you discover that you need sail-roller-blades.

It's like, instead of trying to assemble a list of all possible integer values you might need, instead you just have 10 tiny numbers from 0 to 9, and a simple rule to use those 10 digits to express any infinite and unpredictable value you might ever need to express forever.

So it's a balance. Some standardization is helpful. Utter anarchy isn't useful because no admin or user can ever figure out anyone elses system, and no software can be shared between systems. But too much removes what is the _core_ value of unix in the first place.

This is why systemd drives me crazy. Systemd basically says, here's 0,1,2,8. There is no 7. You don't need 7. If you think you need 7, it actually just means you're doing something wrong. I don't actually know what you're doing by the way, never the less, I know you don't need 7.

It's perfectly ok to invent systemd and for some systems to use it. That is entirely within the free world of unix. But it's just not a good tool for managing a general purpose OS like Suse. It's good for highly specialized, limited, focused and managed black boxes like appliances, phones, tablets, maybe chromebooks. But until it becomes as flexible as the shell scripts it's replacing (which it could, they just refuse to), it's no good for a general purpose OS. It makes the OS more efficient for some things, more manageable, and less useful.

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