On 2015-11-15 07:54, Dan Partelly wrote:
> Hi all,
> I was looking at the new facility of dumping JSON,XML from many utils in base 
> and after some funny minutes, I couldn't stop ask myself “ Ok, this is funny 
> , but why ? “ And I couldn't find a real answer. Ill outline what I think:
> 1. Undoubtedly, it makes base code slightly harder to understand and 
> maintain. 
> 2. I have seen the idea that this makes the information dumped by utilities 
> in the base easily accessible programatically. OK, maybe it does , but
> it doesn't fit with the current paradigm of "tool | filter | tool” at all. 
> There are no tools able to accept JSON and filter it in any meaningful way, 
> and I
> dont see too many ppl changing their code to read JSON instead of text.  I 
> don't even see the base tools changing. This output may be useful in corner 
> cases only.
> 3. The integration of libxo IMO only points at a much deeper issue IMO. It is 
> only an expression of the need of a mechanism aimed at binary code reuse. But 
> it does not solve the problem, it only adds yet another possibility in a 
> world where too much choices already result in too much splits and 
> incompatible APIs. 
> 4. This whole effort would have been IMO much better served  by porting the 
> bulk of ifconfig(8) , route(8) and wpaclient(8) to a library API, much like 
> the libs for geom, zfs , etc , ready for reuse of 3rd party code. Eventually 
> writing network control daemons in time over it , much like solaris does.
> 5. A port of partial OS config data to UCL …. would induce yet induce another 
> orthogonality violation. What makes UCL better than the bestiary of ad hoc 
> databases already existing in BSDs ? Programatic readability, yes. but it 
> does not add any real much needed functionality such as *transactional 
> databases* for system tools.   Why not research a proper solution - easily 
> accessible by other programs ,orthogonal , transactional, and ACL protected   
> solution  which can be used all over the place , from OS boot, to ABI 
> management, service management, network management, user management.  I hope 
> this day will come, a day when I will not have to edit a single config file 
> manually, yet I would have access to all the config and system state  easy 
> with wrapper APIs. In the light of this point, why go with UCL ? It is not 
> orthogonal, it is not transnational, and editing the config files directly 
> would result in the same old human errors which bite as all from time to time.
> 5. It is my opinion that Solaris addressed some of those issue. Solaris FMRI 
> and SMF are lightyears ahead of the very tired models we keep using on BSDs. 
> Why not build on the insight offered by those (or even on the insight offered 
> by Windows :P) , then inventing more adhoc solutions and ad-hoc databases, 
> which do not address the real issues we have , like binary code reuse, 
> service management issues,  lack of a system wide published -subscriber bus ( 
> not kdbus :P ) fault detection and reaction, fault reporting, all much needed 
> parts of a modern OS. 
> And now thee questions
> 1. Why lib XO ? Why burden the OS for some corner cases where it may be 
> useful ?
> 2. Was there any real talk on how to bring FreeBSD up to speed regarding 
> those issues ?  A period of research on what exists, on what can be done , 
> and ensure important things are not showed in background and replaced with 
> yet another ad-hoc config database which lacks modern features ?
> From where I am standing, this could be a project spawning multiple years , 
> but it would be well worth it, and in my opinion it would be also worthy of 
> the freeSBD foundation sponsorship for several years in a row. The features I 
> touched upon became very important parts of oder OSes, and rightly so. 
> Note:
> this message is serious and it is not intended to start flame wars, religious 
> crusades, or offend anyone. 
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lib-izing all of the utilities instead of using libxo is a better
solution. It would likely be gratefully accepted if someone were to do
it, but most likely, no one will.

libxo exists now, and most applications can be converted very quickly
(although care does need to be taken, and it sometimes has not been).

There are tools available to filter json/ucl output, namely textproc/jq
and my forthcoming uclcmd

One of the major other consumers of the json/xml output of libxo, is web
control panels. This is why Juniper is doing the work, and I can think
of a list of other appliance vendors who would love to replace fragile
per-application parsers with a json parser to extract data from various
command line tools.

UCL is a good solution to having a universal config file, and is better
than the bespoke config files each utility has. A transactional database
might be better (for some uses, likely less so for some people), but I
don't hear anyone volunteering to do that work.

So, libxo and libucl may not be the very best solutions, but they are
the ones that are moving forward. I would welcome competing
ideas/solutions, but someone would have to actually build them, not just
rattle off some ideas on the mailing list.

Allan Jude

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