I don't see why we can't keep everyone happy and let the users choose the 
setup they want. To wit, make the following, probably simple, changes:

1) Have postgresql default to using /etc/postgresql.conf
2) Add a setting in postgresql.conf specifying the data directory
3) Change the meaning of -D to mean "use this config file"
4) In the absence of a specified data directory in postgresql.conf, use the 
location of the postgresql.conf file as the data directory

I see several advantages:

1) Anyone who doesn't want to change doesn't have to - leaving the data 
directory spec out of postgresql.conf and starting with -D will be 
essentially identical to how things are now (except it would be -D 
/foo/bar/postgresql.conf instead of -D /foo/bar/ - even this could be 
overcome with a bit of bailing wire saying if -D specifies a directory, look 
for postgresql.conf in that directory).

2) Postgresql will be more "familiar" to those who expect or desire configs 
to be in /etc.

3) Adding a postgresql.conf line for data location sets the stage for being 
able to specify directories for all sorts of files (WAL, index, etc.) without 
the need for symlinks.

4) Multiple config files could be more easily managed for 


On Wednesday 12 February 2003 10:14 pm, Peter Bierman wrote:
> At 12:31 AM -0500 2/13/03, mlw wrote:
> >The idea that a, more or less, arbitrary data location determines
> >the database configuration is wrong. It should be obvious to any
> >administrator that a configuration file location which controls the
> >server is the "right" way to do it.
> Isn't the database data itself a rather significant portion of the
> 'configuration' of the database?
> What do you gain by having the postmaster config and the database
> data live in different locations?
> -pmb
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