Tom Lane wrote:
mlw <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:
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.

I guess I'm just dense, but I entirely fail to see why this is the One
True Way To Do It.  What you seem to be proposing (ignoring
syntactic-sugar issues) is that we replace "postmaster -D
/some/data/dir" by "postmaster -config /some/config/file".  I am not
seeing the nature of the improvement.  It looks to me like the sysadmin
must now grant the Postgres DBA write access on *two* directories, viz
/some/config/ and /wherever/the/data/directory/is.  How is that better
than granting write access on one directory?  Given that we can't manage
to standardize the data directory location across multiple Unixen, how
is it that we will be more successful at standardizing a config file

All I see here is an arbitrary break with our past practice.  I do not
see any net improvement.

There is a pretty well understood convention that a configuration file will be located in some standard location depending on your distro. Would you disagree with that?

There is also a convention that most servers are configured by a configuration file, located in a central location. Look at sendmail, named,, et al.

Here is the test, configure a server, with sendmail, named, apache, and PostgreSQL. Tell me which of these systems doesn't configure right.

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