"That which is overdesigned, too highly specific, anticipates outcome; the anticipation of outcome guarantees, if not failure, the absence of grace."
-- William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties
Makes your brain lazy

The majority of my mailservers to date have run Debian and Postfix, and most of the machines running local MTAs have dnscache bound to the loopback. So earlier tonight I noticed an OpenBSD machine I had installed last week hadn't been sending me logcheck reports after I had moved it from the internal network (where I do installs) to the DMZ.

I go check, and it appears that's it's unable to do DNS lookups to get MX records. After a few minutes of screwing around, I notice this error:

May 25 05:22:14 clortho postfix/postfix-script: warning: /var/spool/postfix/etc/resolv.conf and /etc/resolv.conf differ

Easily fixed, and then I go look at Debian's Postfix init script:

FILES="etc/localtime etc/services etc/resolv.conf etc/hosts \
for file in $FILES; do
[ -d ${file%/*} ] || mkdir -p ${file%/*}
if [ -f /${file} ]; then rm -f ${file} && cp /${file} ${file}; fi
if [ -f ${file} ]; then chmod a+rX ${file}; fi

...yup. Debian is awesome, because it does so much for you. And Debian is bad, because it can make your brain lazy, leaving you to wonder why something you haven't had any issues with previously us suddenly acting weird.

This is why I'm really starting to like OpenBSD, I think. No coddling without being obnoxious.

May 25, 2004 5:28 AM

And yes, that's clortho as in Vince Clortho, from Ghostbusters. This machine is going to be a shell gateway (aka keyhost ;-).

Posted by: bda at May 25, 2004 5:29 AM

Well... ghostbusters does own. And yes, debian is teh devil. But it's the future. The problem I have with Debian is that they do some of the administration for you but not all.

In my opinion, I believe that any OS that is going to handle a majority of the administrative tasks should do EVERYTHING, and it should do it all seamlessly. If it's going to handle shit for me, it had better not require any administration ever. This is my ideal desktop. But if you are going to be forced to do some things differently on server OS's that are supposed to be similar enough to be understandable to everyone (unix environments) then it shouldn't do anything any of the others doesn't do. I hate all the different distro's because they all act differently. I want them ALL to function in the same way and rely more on performance and stability to differenciate the good and the bad than in "how easy it is to configure". It's fucking unix, act like it I say.

Posted by: blister at May 25, 2004 6:10 AM

Well, Debian *does* act like UNIX. The script that does sanity-checking for postfix before it inits the daemon *is* UNIX, and it actually makes a lot of sense (you're going to want to trust the global settings more than the settings in the chroot, eg if you swap networks or something).

And Debian really does do most of the administration for you... there's some stuff that requires work, but for 99% of the users, it's going to be entirely seemless.

As for systems acting differently... as long as they're internally self-consistent, I don't have a problem with them all not acting the same.

It means you'll get to see what works best in whatever circumstances or situation you're in.

Also: Your ideal desktop box is Mac OS X. ;-)

Posted by: bda at May 25, 2004 6:30 AM

a couple of days late, but still:

I agree with the comment about the future. Distros like debian are important for the future of non-MS type operation systems. Easy to use = easy to sell. And I'm not talking about financially, I'm talking about getting the message and software out to The Humans. The only way to do that is to make it Easy.

The other hand holds the evil part of operating environments like debian. laziness, etc. If you get used to the machine doing the work, and all of a sudden it doesn't want to anymore, a system administrator who only knows debian might not have the experience required to solve the serious problem.

Kinda like those IRC operators on DAL.NET back in the day. 13 year olds with scripts, but no knowledge of much else.

Just pretend all of those capitalization, puncuation, and spelling errors above don't exist. It's aiming to be a long day.

Posted by: shady at May 31, 2004 12:44 PM

Much Starship Troopers ref for you monkeys!)

Debian really IS an easy sell, though. Especially when it comes to management... there's so much documentation (from user docs, to admin docs, to security docs, to developer docs), that it's difficult for them to have a justfiable reason for going with MS. Unless they like spending money.

Which a lot of companies seem to. Strange, that!

Posted by: bda at May 31, 2004 9:59 PM
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