Inflexible Options

Some configuration tools are just overly simplistic—they don't support changing enough of the features of a product to make using the tool worthwhile. A similar problem is a tool that doesn't allow you to override its defaults. For instance, Figure 9.2 shows Red Hat's sound card detection tool. After launching this tool, the system returns information about any sound card that it has found. You can click the Play Test Sound button to hear if the system has detected the sound card correctly. If you don't hear a sound, the tool provides nothing in the way of options to try to correct the matter. You can't select another sound card from a list, modify driver module options, or take any other corrective measures. Your only choices at this point are to abandon any attempt to get the sound card working or to dig into configuration files and modify them manually.

Figure 9.2: Some configuration tools provide inadequate configuration options.

Even when a device works correctly in a simple case, it may present inadequate options for more complex configurations. For instance, many distributions include configuration tools that greatly simplify setting up Ethernet interfaces. Some of these tools, though, don't handle a second interface very well. They may lack any options for configuring a second interface, or they may provide some options but lack the finesse required to configure the second interface in the way that might be required for your application, such as setting up the computer as a router.

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