7.3. Configuration Files

If the port installs configuration files to PREFIX/etc (or elsewhere) do not list them in pkg-plist. That will cause pkg delete to remove files that have been carefully edited by the user, and a re-installation will wipe them out.

Instead, install sample files with a filename.sample extension. The @sample macro automates this, see Section 7.6.7, “@sample file for what it does exactly. For each sample file, add a line to pkg-plist:

@sample etc/orbit.conf.sample

If there is a very good reason not to install a working configuration file by default, only list the sample filename in pkg-plist, without the @sample part, and add a message pointing out that the user must copy and edit the file before the software will work.


When a port installs its configuration in a subdirectory of ${PREFIX}/etc, use ETCDIR, which defaults to ${PREFIX}/etc/${PORTNAME}, it can be overridden in the ports Makefile if there is a convention for the port to use some other directory. The %%ETCDIR%% macro will be used in its stead in pkg-plist.


The sample configuration files should always have the .sample suffix. If for some historical reason using the standard suffix is not possible, use this construct:

@unexec if cmp -s %D/etc/orbit.conf-dist %D/etc/orbit.conf; then rm -f %D/etc/orbit.conf; fi
@exec if [ ! -f %D/etc/orbit.conf ] ; then cp -p %D/%F %B/orbit.conf; fi

The order of these lines is important. On deinstallation, the sample file is compared to the actual configuration file. If these files are identical, no changes have been made by the user and the actual file can be safely deleted. Because the sample file must still exist for the comparison, the @unexec line comes before the sample configuration file name. On installation, if an actual configuration file is not already present, the sample file is copied to the actual file. The sample file must be present before it can be copied, so the @exec line comes after the sample configuration file name.

To debug any issues, temporarily remove the -s flag to cmp(1) for more output.

See pkg-create(8) for more information on %D and related substitution markers.

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