Our rich ecosystem of packaging tools has a large number of
configuration options.  In some cases, different tools need to have
the same option set in the same way.  But we have no common place to
put this information and often not even common terminology.

One example is:
   export-dir (gbp)
   buildresult (pbuilder)
   build-products-dir (dgit)
   build-dir (sbuild)

When one of these tools invokes others, it can sometimes pass down an
option, but unless we are to have a kind of universal wrapper program,
this is not always possible.  (And we have too many wrappers already.)

So, it would be good for there to be a single way to configure these
things.  Every tool ought to look in this single place as well as its
own configuration.

It shouldn't just be an environment variable because that clutters the
environment unnecessarily.  I think it should probably be a config
file in ~, overrideable with an environment variable.  (Or perhaps the
config filename could be overrideable with an environment variable.)

What do people think ?

If this is a good idea then we need to agree on a filename and format.
The format must be easy to parse in a variety of programming languages
including, in particular, shell scripts.  Any suggestions ?

Also there should be a registry document in some package somewhere,
which declares the format and lists the known config keys and their


PS Note that we are talking here about settings which relate to
personal preferences, or machine-local setup.  Not ones which are
properties of the package and which must therefore be done the same
way by all of a package's maintainers - that latter information must
be elsewhere (in the source package, recorded in salsa, or something.)

Ian Jackson <ijack...@chiark.greenend.org.uk>   These opinions are my own.

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