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Re: Overhauling GUCS

From: "Joshua D(dot) Drake" <jd(at)commandprompt(dot)com>
To: Greg Sabino Mullane <greg(at)turnstep(dot)com>
Cc: pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Overhauling GUCS
Date: 2008-06-01 02:24:02
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Lists: pgsql-hackers
Greg Sabino Mullane wrote:

> * Much more verbose comments. The abovementioned default_statistics_target
> is a very important settings, but there is zero explanation in the file
> of what it is. The only thing we're told is that it ranges from 10 - 1000.
> We can do better than that. Users would absolutely love it if each item
> had a clear explanation, and it would be well worth a slightly increased
> file size. See the postfix file for a good example of such.

I kind of agree with this but actually think we should have the bare 
minimum comments in the file. Why? Because our documentation links are 
static. Each setting should have the URL to the full documentation on a 
particular setting.

> * Create a tool, or at least a best practices, for controlling and tracking
> changes to the file.

This I disagree with. There are plenty of tools to handle this should 
someone really want to. SVN, CVS, parrot, etc... Let systems management 
be the domain of systems management.

> * Put some doc URLs in the file, at the minimum per major section. At the
> very bare minimum, a real URL at the top.

Hah! See above :)

> * Indicate which values can be changed per-session or per-role.

Agreed. Along with this although offtopic for this post is a grid in the 
docs that are explicit about this.

> * Fix the disparity between the syntax in the file and the SET interface.
> For example, work_mem = 16MB works in the conf file, but you have to write
> SET work_mem = '16MB'. Easiest is probably just to quote everything in the conf.


> * I'm tempted by the argument of creating a separate file for the obscure
> settings, but I think it would be too much pain, and nobody would ever agree on
> which settings are 'important' and which are 'obscure'.

Actually I could buy into this. There really are only about a dozen must 
change settings (if that). I could see something like:

Memory settings:

network etc/network.conf
include etc/memory.conf
logging etc/logging.conf


> * It might be nice to mention other ways to reload the file, such as
> 'service postgresql reload', or whatever Windows uses.

I think a url to the docs is a better idea here.

> * The word 'paramters' is still misspelled. :)


  > * Since the executable is now named "postgres" (thank goodness we got
> rid of "postmaster"), the file should be named 'postgres.conf'. This would
> also be a way to quickly distinguish 'old' vs 'new' style conf files if
> we end up making major changes to it.

It was never postmaster.conf (that I can recall). I don't see the issue 
here. Consider apache... It isn't apache.conf.

I think postgresql.conf (as that is the name of the software) makes sense.


Joshua D. Drake

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