[linux-elitists] Microsoft prizes for rat finks

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Tue May 1 14:47:03 PDT 2001

begin  Heather quotation:
> Well, yes, but /var/lib/  is the traditional place for apps to keep their
> session-to-session cruft....

Yes, but, as I understand it, that tradition was created by nothing more
reasonable than dumping there the crud from _other_ equally inapropriate
directories, as those directories were cleaned up.  E.g., the sendmail
binary used to live somewhere under /etc, and there was a whole lot of
slop in /usr/lib.  

My point is that /var/lib strikes me as the latest repository of
basically unclassified files -- and that the _real_, long-term solution
is to classify them, finally, and find them appropriate homes.  FHS is,
inevitably, the result of both good ideas and of the need to bend to
preserve its sole source of power (persuasion):  Occasionally, somebody
pushes, and it backslides.  In the long term, FHS aims to use its
limited power of persuasion to straighten out the static vs. variable
parts of the tree, likewise disentangling the shareable vs. unshareable
parts, and generally cleaning up 27 years of cruft.  Two steps forward,
sometimes one step back.

> /var/state seems to be a cheap excuse for /var/run 

Sorry, no.  The distinction between the two is (was) that /var/state
held state information between invocations and between instances,
whereas /var/run is limited to runtime-only state information, internal
to a particular process.

/var/state was invented in FHS 2.0 explicitly to get inappropriate junk
out of /var/lib.  In 2.0, /var/lib isn't listed at all, except for
mentions in some places saying it's "depreated".  FHS 2.1 (somewhat)
reverses this step, more-or-less renaming /var/state to /var/lib.

Again:  The overall point is was making is that lib directries should 
logically contain _libraries_ (and library-like objects such as internal 
binaries not used directly by the user), dammit.  So, as of FHS 2.1 
(and above), the good part is that /var/lib is supposed to be used only 
for one specific type of file (variable state information that persists
or is inter-process).  The bad news is that the directory naming makes
less sense than it used to. 

Cheers,                                     The Viking's Reminder:
Rick Moen                                   Pillage first, _then_ burn.

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