stupid question about etc/profile.d

Matthias B. msbREMOVE-THIS at
Tue Dec 21 03:17:39 PST 2004

On Mon, 20 Dec 2004 18:11:02 +0000 Jeremy Henty <jeremy at>

> On Mon, Dec 20, 2004 at 09:49:35AM +0100, Matthias B. wrote:
> > On Sun, 19 Dec 2004 12:08:17 +0000 Jeremy Henty <jeremy at>
> > wrote:
> > 
> > > I thought the reason for /etc/profile.d was to make it easier to
> > > manage software packages that need to change the environment.  The
> > > installer adds a file to /etc/profile.d and the uninstaller removes
> > > it,
> > 
> > Yeah. That idea worked great for the Windows registry :-)
> The registry is a good idea.  The Windows version only sucks because
> the implementation is flaky.

The registry implementation itself is not flaky, at least I've never heard
of registry corruption and no one I know has ever experienced it. The
problems with the Windows registry are *exactly* the same as with
/etc/profile.d. One problem is that packages can (and will) arbitrarily
override common settings (such as extension/application assignments in
Windows) and that uninstallers "forget" to clean up some stuff.

The idea just doesn't work in practice, because most developers, no matter
if closed source or open source, are sloppy and lazy as far as packaging
and deployment is concerned. 

I allow no automated installer to mess with my PATH, my prompt or the rest
of my environment. It doesn't matter if the installer was written by
Microsoft, Linus Torvalds or Santa Claus.


p.s.: Regarding the oft-repeated "The registry is bad, because it's binary
and not based on text files and the usual filesystem." argument. That's
just nonsense. The most valuable and important data on earth is stored in
binary databases. The LFS project itself switched from CVS (based on text
files and the ordinary filesystem) to SVN (a big blob of binary,
accessible only with specialized tools) just recently. 

Problems are always simple. It's finding the solutions that is difficult.

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