Re: Newbie Question
Also, I love being able to use another than the default version for testing and development. testing Gnome 2.2 in another directory and linking programs with that, without breaking the Gnome 1.4 that came with redhat 7.3. Until I'm satisfied with the new version and decide to switch over to it.
'configure' can do that. No need to even touch the makefile.in or whatever, just specifying a couple of prefix and other options. A central registry of installed libraries will most definetely not be able to do such a thing without just as much complexity as the auto* tools.
On the other hand, I agree with the author that badly written and broken auto* configurations can be terrible. But so are broken makefiles, broken headers or wrong assumptions found in the source of many packages.
Add support for integrity checkers + script generation
I certainly hope you will pull it off to devellop such a project.
And even though you have already burried yourself under an enourmous workload I want to add a request: build in some form of support for integrity checkers (e.g. tripwire). One thing which has kept my from using any of the existing tools like linuxconf or webmin is that I always get some tripwire error messages about changed files. Of course, checking the logs will usually give a clue as to why some configuration file has been altered, but clues are not enough where system integrety and security is concerned, I want an exact listing of the files that have been altered.
This might even be implemented in the form of an additional backend which takes the list of modified files and feeds it to the tool that recalculated the checksums and updates the database; all with proper authentication of course.
Now that I think of it, I can add a 2nd request right now: might it be possible to have gui or web frontends generate a list of commands to have the command-line tools re-create the same change? This would be ideal to automate configuration changes for clusters or groups of similar workstations: configure a service like samba on one of them through the gui and have a script to make the same changes on all the other machines. In my optinion this will be more powerful than a centralized configuration solution since the same script can also be applied to new installations (e.g.a post-install script for a kickstart installation).