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Re: Editfiles Considered Harmful (was: Re: Complex Editfiles Examples)

From: Chip Seraphine
Subject: Re: Editfiles Considered Harmful (was: Re: Complex Editfiles Examples)
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 10:39:58 -0600
User-agent: KMail/1.5

On Thursday 04 December 2003 01:48, Eric Sorenson wrote:
> Seriously though, I would like to hear any criticism or feedback on the
> above -- if there's something that just doesn't fit into this model, or
> maybe some loon^H^H^H^Hfine person who feels as strongly Pro-editfiles as I
> do Anti-, I'd welcome the dialog.

I agree that there are some advantages to having cfengine distribute from a 
controlled repository instead of editing live files, and I too have been 
frustrated by the eccentricities of editfiles.  (My own std_editfiles_rant.h 
would include a lot of text about asymetrical group controls and matching 

(On the other hand, some parts of it are just fantastic-- 
AppendIfNoLineMatching, HashUncomment, etc are truly great features that make 
editifles very, very readable when compared to other text manipulation 
solutions.  And I'd give my left one to have editfiles support iterators.)

But the main reason I make extensive use of editfiles is because my 
environment is not ready to become 100% committed to the 'cfengine way', 
where almost all authority is concentrated in the repository.  The reality is 
that privelaged users and other admins often want (and possibly need) to make 
edits 'the old way' on specific hosts without cfengine stomping on them.  
This is a concern that would not be an issue in a perfect political setting, 
but is very much valid in my present employ.

I've found that for controlling only specific parts of a file while allowing 
unrestricted change in other parts, editfiles is my tool of choice (warts and 

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