[svlug] Re: Unix Configuration

N. Thomas nthomas at cise.ufl.edu
Fri Jan 17 18:01:07 PST 2003

* David N. Welton <davidw at dedasys.com> [2003-01-17 16:49:30 -0800]:
> I think the huge variety of config file formats on Unix is a
> tremendous waste of time and resources.
> It would be so much more efficient to have one, or even two or three
> flexible formats, and a few libraries to parse it.

A coworker of mine said the same thing a few years ago. I was
sympathetic to his plight, and since he was busy with other things at
the time, I started writing a library that would parse some common
format to be used in rc files and the like.

Two days into it, someone told me about XML, and how great it was and
how it would solve all our problems. After looking at it (and liking the
concept), I figured he was right and soon enough, XML would catch on and
the plethora of configuration formats would be a thing of the past and
stopped working on the program.

That was about 3 or 4 years ago, and while it hasn't happened as quickly
as I thought it would, it is happening -- slowly. I've seen a lot of new
tools that are starting to use XML files for configuration. Hopefully
some day in the not so distant future, my dream will come to pass.

Of course, there is the other side to the argument, that it's easier to
write something like:

    global_ignores = *.o *.lo *.la #*# *.rej *~ .#*

instead of:


(The former was taking from Subversion's config file.)

Who knows? Only Time will tell.


N. Thomas
nthomas at cise.ufl.edu
Etiamsi occiderit me, in ipso sperabo

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