[OpenAFS] Selecting a configuration file format for OpenAFS Services

Russ Allbery rra@stanford.edu
Sat, 16 May 2009 16:06:17 -0700

David Boyes <dboyes@sinenomine.net> writes:

> Rather than scattering configuration around in files, I'd like to see a
> configuration daemon that maintained the configurations for the various
> pieces. A single command line argument identifying a set of addresses to
> contact a config daemon would make this very simple to implement, and the
> config daemon could be a simple "connect, id yourself, receive your config,
> disconnect" operation. Would make configuration management a lot simpler.

This sounds like a bad idea to me.  It adds a lot of complexity in a
direction where I don't think we need complexity, and it isn't how
pretty much all other UNIX software works.  I don't think it's common on
Windows either.

> If you insist on files, then all configuration should be possible
> within the files, and the command line args should be frozen as is for
> backward compatibility. The Kerberos file format is as good as any,
> although not really friendly for complex parms.

Lots of other servers support both configuration files and command-line
arguments without trouble.  I don't see any reason why we can't.  The
semantics on UNIX are fairly standard (command-line parameters override
the configuration file).  It's very convenient to be able to quickly run
a binary with a different setting without having to generate a separate
configuration file and point the binary in a different place.

I think the Kerberos configuration file format would be fine.  The
current MIT Kerberos API for reading it, on the other hand, is kind of
horrible.  Is there a better parser out there with a saner API?

Russ Allbery (rra@stanford.edu)             <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>