Lecture: Elektra Initiative
What we learned in 13 years about FLOSS configuration
Free software seems to be proud of its diversity and variety in
configuration access. In this talk we will reflect about the last 13
years of experiences based on a user survey, and code analysis of many
projects (comprising about 50 million lines of code).
We aim at understanding the challenges to provide better tools for
configuration validation and context-awareness. We discovered that
necessary information is often missing in the applications and FLOSS
developers dislike dependencies on external packages. Furthermore,
we show which methods of configuration access are the most popular.
Elektra gives the currently missing control to the application developer,
package maintainer and administrator. At runtime they can add file path
resolving strategies (e.g. XDG) type checks, validation (e.g. regex,
path,..), logging (journald, syslog), notification (e.g. dbus), character
encoding and using any suitable file format with minimal effort.
Applications can choose from a large set of plugins to enable these
features. Alternatively they can implement new plugins to achieve their
desired behaviour in their part of the global configuration storage.
So Elektra leaves developers the fun parts, e.g. inventing new
configuration file formats.