[HEADS-UP] Rawhide: /tmp is now on tmpfs

Adam Williamson awilliam at redhat.com
Fri Jun 1 18:56:43 UTC 2012

On Fri, 2012-06-01 at 14:46 -0400, DJ Delorie wrote:

> IMHO *telling* the user how to manage /tmp is wrong, whichever side of
> the argument you're on.  *Asking* them how to manage it is the right
> way.  That was my point in that mail.
> *I* want /tmp on disk.  I still don't want someone else telling me I
> have to do it that way.

You are entirely free to configure it through /etc/fstab. But to say
that 'the system' should ask 'the user' to make every major config
choice for it is just untenable and absurd.

Yes, it's 'just' another checkbox in the installer. Feel free to join
#anaconda and see how easy it is to keep track of the seventy zillion
checkboxes (i.e. codepaths) we currently have in the installer when
trying to redesign it in a way that makes any goddamn sense.

Philosophically: the whole _job_ of a distribution is to make choices
for 'the user'. That's what we do. We look at the bewildering array of
choices you can make in deploying a bunch of bits to a system in order
to be able to actually use it, and make lots of those choices, so that
people can go ahead and stick a disc in a drive and click a few buttons
and get a working system, instead of spending three weeks researching
what a tmpfs even _is_.

Let's make some logical extensions of your position. When I start
installing Fedora, it should ask me whether I want to install grub,
grub2, or lilo. Then ask me what framebuffer mode and console font I'd
like to use. Then it should probably ask me whether to use udev or a
static /dev tree. Then it could maybe ask what system initialization
daemon it should use, systemd or upstart. Then ask whether we want to
use dpkg or rpm, and access a different repository accordingly. Then we
could get into the real meaty stuff, like do I want ash or bash. Do I
want chronyd or ntpd.

It's just freaking absurd. Our job is to deploy a cohesive system - i.e.
to make choices about basic system design. Not to create a giant
choose-your-own-adventure interface to encapsulate all the possible
options of system configuration policy.

I realize I'm arguing extremes here, and of course there's a happy
medium somewhere between 'ask what the core limit should be' and 'one
click installer'. There are _some_ choices that have to be left up to
the user, and some that probably ought to be. But you seem to be arguing
a) that one specific obscure and probably not-widely-understood item of
distro configuration should be explicitly left up to the user at install
time because 'everything is about choice!', and b) in general, all such
things should be 'optional' (not in terms of 'you can go in and change
it if you really care', which is fine, but in terms of 'you will be
forcibly confronted with a decision'). My position is that this is
insane, against the whole concept of what a distribution is, impossible
to maintain and impossible to QA (and hence will inevitably lead to a
very buggy product).
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Twitter: AdamW_Fedora | identi.ca: adamwfedora

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