Provided by: sysconftool_0.15-1_i386
sysconftool - install configuration files
sysconftool [ options ] [ filename.dist ... ]
sysconftool is a development utility that helps to install application
configuration files. sysconftool allows an existing application to be
upgraded without losing the older version’s configuration settings.
A new version of an application often introduces new configuration
settings. Sometimes obsolete configuration settings are removed.
Existing configuration settings may also now have additional options,
or certain options are no longer valid any more. Because of this, an
application upgrade usually installs a fresh set of configuration
files, containing a default configuration that’s known to work.
Keeping the existing files carries the risk of the application failing
to function properly due to a configuration that is no longer valid.
A typical application installation script copies over configuration
files with default settings. Existing configuration files are backed
up or overwritten. With sysconftool, an application will install a
configuration file names filename.dist, instead of filename. Then, the
application’s installation script runs sysconftool. sysconftool copies
filename.dist to filename, but also checks if filename from an older
version of the application already exist. If filename an older
sysconftool-installed configuration file, it’s configuration settings
replace the defaults in filename.dist, which is then subsequently
installed as filename. sysconftool is smart enough to:
· Remove configuration settings that no longer exist.
· Add new configuration settings.
· Do not preserve an older configuration setting if there’s a
possibility that it is no longer valid in the new version of the
sysconftool produces a short report when it runs. The report lists
every configuration setting in $filename.dist, and its disposition.
The possible dispositions are:
new This a new configuration setting that wasn’t found in the
This setting’s value was taken from the existing $filename,
replacing the default value provided by $filename.dist.
This setting has been previously set in $filename, but the
setting’s value may no longer be valid in the new version of the
application, so its default value is taken from $filename.dist,
and it may need to be manually adjusted.
All this logic is based on some additional metadata that must be
included in each configuration file, that sysconftool reads. For this
to work, both the old and the new version of the application must be
sysconftool-ized. sysconftool operates in a fail-safe mode. If the
old version did not use sysconftool, $filename is backed up to
$filename.bak, and $filename is copied to $filename. This is what would
essentially happen anyway without sysconftool. The local configuration
needs to be reentered into $filename, so nothing is lost. However, the
next upgrade will see sysconftool do its job.
ADDING SYSCONFTOOL SUPPORT TO AN EXISTING APPLICATION
sysconftool requires the application to use autoconf and automake. The
first step is to run the sysconftoolize script from the application’s
source directory. sysconftoolize copies the sysconftool script to the
current directory, and appends a default install-configure rule to
Makefile.am. After running sysconftoolize the macro AC_PROG_SYSCONFTOOL
must be manually added to configure.in, and Makefile.am must be
modified as follows.
Makefile.am must be modified to install configuration files as
filename.dist instead of filename. The default install-configure rule
assumes that sysconf_DATA lists all configuration files in sysconfdir,
and runs sysconftool on them. This will usually have to be modified,
according to the application’s individual needs. Finally, Makefile.am
must be modified to distribute the sysconftool script in the
application’s source distribution. Adding sysconftool to EXTRA_DIST is
what’s needed in most cases.
Finally, certain sysconftool magic incantations must be added to the
application’s configuration files, see sysconftool(7) for more
information. The last step involves updating the application’s INSTALL
instructions, so that the application can be properly installed. The
following instructions must be added to INSTALL:
1. Run "make install-configure" after "make install".
2. If this is the first sysconftool-ized version, DO NOT simply copy
over the old configuration files, and overwrite the new
configuration files. Instead, manually edit each configuration
file, and manually reset each configuration setting. This is
because the new configuration files include the magic code for
sysconftool, which would be lost when the configuration file is
3. If this is not the first sysconftool-ized version, the output of
make install-configure must be reviewed in order to manually adjust
or tweak what sysconftool did. Many large configuration files can
result in lots of output, so the output of make install-configure
should be saved into a file, and reviewed.