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Summary Complete configuration system, for OS, apps and machine clusters
Categories libraries, scm, deployment
License GNU Lesser Public License
Owner(s) amelinte

LinCS (Linux Configuration System) is a configuration tool aiming to offer a uniform way for applications, the OS itself and machine clusters to store/retrieve their configuration information.  Thus, it will completely replace the standard configuration files, such as the ones stored in /etc.  It follows on the road opened by other configuration tools such as gconf but it is novel in that it addresses the area of system configuration.  Another novelty is that it offers a transparent way for "older" applications that use configuration files to live on a LinCS-configured OS.  Its design is modular and extensible.

A separate component is the text-based UI editor tiger (Text Interface Generic EditoR), allowing users to manage their configuration values and admins to configure the machine(s).

LinCS is written in C, while tiger in written in C++, as it uses third-party libraries for the UI - currently tvision.

Currently only Linux is used as a development platform but if it succeeds in being adopted by enough users, one might expect it to be ported to other platforms. Internationalization is an issue that will be targeted later, while security and robustness are of every moment concerns. 

Quick Overview

The LinCS system is one unique tool aiming to allow to configure and administer networks, machines and applications in an uniform way and to offer additional functionalities, such as notifications when configuration changes, and rollbacks. LinCS is made mainly of the following components:

  • A client library, of which applications willing to benefits from the new features have to make use.
  • A library to intercept calls from applications not using directly the LinCS system, as to allow them live on a LinCS-configured machine without having to re-write and re-compile them. The library makes use of various expert modules to re-create the configuration files from the values stored by LinCS.
  • A daemon serving requests from clients. Currently there is a daemon per machine but there might be also a daemon per user in the future.
  • Various modules named backends, that manipulate configuration information or offer special functionalities. This modular approach gives the system the flexibility needed to add functionality in a transparent way.
  • Various admin tools.

The client library normally talks directly to the daemon to fulfill requests but if the daemon is not up (for instance, at boot time) the library will talk directly to the backends.

The configuration information consists of entities, each one having a list of attributes, each attribute having a name (call it att-name) and a value (att-value). For instance we can have a config entity to store the IP address of the first network card: an entity with an attribute with att-name='name' having the associate att-value='/network/ip/eth0' and with an att-name='value' having the associate att-value=''. There is no restriction concerning the attribute list but some att-names have special meanings.

The space of configuration entities is thus structured logically by the att-name called 'name'. It is planned to have entities also groupped into layers, a layer taking precedence over another based on a policy decided by the administrator.



Development is on hold until October 1st, 2004.