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Re: The value of unmodified conffiles left on disk of removed, but not purged, packages

Am 25.02.2018 um 23:42 schrieb Don Armstrong:
> On Sun, 25 Feb 2018, Dimitri John Ledkov wrote:
>> A couple of conffiles were /etc/X11/Xsession.d/00upstart and
>> /etc/X11/Xsession.d/99upstart which assumed that upstart would be
>> alwasy be available, and in bionic after the above described update
>> started to error out, and prevent gdm3 from completing a login.
> Conffiles which continue to have an effect on the system after their
> package has been removed seems like a bug to me. I'd be tempted in this
> case to provide a transitional upstart package which fixed these
> conffiles to properly test for upstart.[1]

That would have been an option for upstart.
But there are multiple cases where an uninstalled but not purge package
has side-effects.
See uninstalled-but-not-purged packages shipping SysV init scripts.

Basically, every package which allows to be extended by other packages
via .d directories is affected.

Take logrotated as a example and the dance e.g. rsyslog has to do in

>> Surely, there is no value in keeping them on disk, and unmodified
>> conffiles should be removed, upon package removal.
>> Thoughts?
> This breaks the expectation that `apt remove foo; apt install foo;`
> would lead to foo working with the same configuration if deletion of
> configuration files is meaningful for foo. [For example, apache operates
> this way.]

So dpkg would have to remember if a conffile was removed by the admin
prior to the uninstallation. Doesn't sound too complicated to me, we
already have an obsolete flag in the status file. We'd just have to
extend that with a new flag. Then again, I'm no dpkg hacker, so maybe
there are subtleties I don't see.


Why is it that all of the instruments seeking intelligent life in the
universe are pointed away from Earth?

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