Classnotes | UNIX02 | RecentChanges | Preferences On most Unix-like systems the typical configuration file is in plain-text format. Additionally, there are many different configuration files each offering a different piece of the overall Unix system configuration.
Example /boot/grub/grub.conf :
# grub.conf generated by anaconda
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE: You do not have a /boot partition. This means that
# all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /, eg.
# root (hd0,0)
# kernel /boot/vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/hda1
# initrd /boot/initrd-version.img
title Red Hat Linux (2.4.18-18.7.x)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.4.18-18.7.x ro root=/dev/hda1 hdd=ide-scsi
Advantages to multiple plain-text configuration files
Configuration is not hidden! This is perhaps the biggest advantage which is not mentionned in the book.
You are in control! When you make a change to a configuration file by hand, you are working as "close to the metal" as any graphical configuration tool ever is, so your changes will usually stay. No application secong guessing you!
Ease of application development. You're just dealing with basic text string manipulation.
Most configuration files are small and independent. More efficient use of system resources.
One corrupted configuration file will not affect other configuration files, and will likely only hinder or harm one specific system service.
Use simple text-editors to configure nearly everything your system has to offer.
Disadvantages to multiple plain-text configuration files
Multiple and sometimes confusing formats.
New programs may not take advantage of existing configuration files. (Though this is nothing unusual: Windows Registry entries can oft times be inaccessible to other applications.)
Graphical tool usage and manipulation can be less effective (this argument has become increasingly a moot point).