About a month ago or so, I joined in a discussion on the debian-boot and pkg-exim4-devel mailinglists about the current Exim (v4) configuration schemes.

To keep you from having to google for that discussion, I'll quickly summarize my opinion on the subject of the exim4 configuration scheme in Debian:

I think it sucks.

I've been a rather fanatic (ish) exim user since about two months after I became a Debian Developer. Initially, I removed it to replace it with sendmail. But that was a bad idea, and I quickly found out why. However, I never liked the exim 3 configuration script, since I never could get it to do what I wanted; and, according to the exim 4 maintainer (and to anyone who compares both schemes), the current exim 4 configuration system is just a rehash of the exim 3 configuration system; not much more.

But it's so backwards. The initial question which exim4-config asks you may have been relevant in the time the initial exim 3 config script was written, but it is so totally outdated in a modern Internet. As a result, my current modus operandi when I install a new box is to get out of the exim4 config system as soon as I can, to gunzip /usr/share/doc/exim4-config/examples/example.conf.gz to /etc/exim4/exim4.conf, and to open the file in a text editor. At least I know that works, the way I want it. No hard feelings, Marc (but you knew that already).

Personally, I had different ideas about what an efficient question would be, and I posted those to the mailinglist (you will have to google for those if you want them, though :-). I also promised to come up with some code to implement my ideas. This has proven to be... interesting.

Currently, I have a config script that does a few questions and then switches to "Not Yet Implemented" mode. As in: it displays a debconf template of "Type: error" that basically says "This part still has to be implemented". For the postinst script, I wanted to base myself on the existing postinst script. That does not seem to be a very good idea, however; the existing postinst script contains a lot of upgrade cruft.

And then I still have to write my update-exim4.conf. Looks like I took on a job which turns out to be larger than expected...

Oh well, I guess I'll cope. It'll just take a bit longer than I wanted it to.