Re: Software Install/Config via WWW

Tony Sanders (
Thu, 22 Sep 1994 15:39:43 -0500

Rick Troth writes:
> With UNIX, the location is often compiled-in. Bad. But what else
> can you do? Stick everything in /etc? X has the app-defaults
> directory and the resources database. Then there are environment
> variables, but those are a pain to initialize consistently.
> But we're getting back into UNIX again. Sorry guys.
Well, we can talk about UNIX first (because it is both complex and powerful)
and then try to generalize the solution to other OSes. Bottom line is
that you must start somewhere and very few people know the gory details
of very many OSes.

So with that in mind, here is one possible solution with UNIX:

1) The file /etc/applications could contain a mapping from
"application/version" to the root directory path and could
also store other data items.
2) Users personal file is ~/.applications
3) Override with $APPLICATIONS environment variable
4) Define a C library interface to manipulate it:
#include <appdata.h>
APPDATA *ad = getappdata("xtoss/1.2");

This basically follows the termcap/app-default solution (each level should
be able to specify customizations and then punt to the upper level). The
X app-defaults files have some nice features (like globbing) but I don't
know that all of them would be useful in this environment.