New element (<su> ?)

Matthias Benkmann matthias at
Thu Feb 28 09:41:06 PST 2002

On Thu, 28 Feb 2002 14:52:51 +0100 Neven Has <haski at sezampro.yu> wrote:

> BTW, I didn't have time to check out your package users hint - I thought
> something like the above would be enough for it, but I'm probably
> missing something? 

An automated building system for a package user system must create these
users in chapter 6. So you need at least another tag to specify the group
for every package user. Then you need a tag to specify the home directory
of the user. Of course this is very inflexible. You would want to allow
the user to give you e.g. a sed expression that generates a home directory
location from the user or package name. To be really useful you'd also
need a way to specify some additional stuff to be put into every package
user's home directory. And of course the building system must copy or move
(based on user's choice) the appropriate tarballs to the package user's
home directory and must chown/chgrp them properly. Then of course there's
the problem that some instructions have to be done as root, so you need a
way to specify some pre-install/post-install instructions to be executed
as root before and after make install is done as the package user.

And the above are just the things that concern the profile syntax. There
are technical problems such as the fact that useradd/groupadd/su are not
available at the beginning of chapter 6, so the building system needs to
have workarounds for that. And the building instructions need to be
tweaked to work around some problems with uncooperative packages.

It's all possible (Mafobu, my personal building system does all of the
above) but it takes more than just a <su> tag. So I think it would be
confusing to have a <su> tag that can be put around anything. It would
fool people into believing they can use it to do things like package users
and would annoy them when they realize that putting a <su> tag around the
glibc package instructions only causes the building system to fail, even
though it's syntactically correct. I suggest you either limit the scope of
the tag by just adding something like <chapter?>

or you try to be more ambitious and implement real package user support. I
don't think the latter would be worth the trouble, though. Package users
are too far away from mainstream.  

Digitize if possible - Eradicate if necessary!

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