The Perils of Automatic Configurations

Standard Linux installations place a set of default configuration files on the system. Most of these files reside in the /etc directory tree and, except in cases of severely broken installation scripts, unsupported critical hardware, or similar serious problems, the default configuration files work well enough to boot the computer. Sometimes, though, these configurations fail seriously enough to cause problems, albeit not badly enough to prevent the system from booting. Likewise, the configuration tools provided with the distribution often work well enough to get a subsystem functioning partially, but not completely. Sometimes these tools fail altogether. Understanding these failures can help you to work around them, so this section summarizes four failure types:

• Incorrect identification of hardware or of another system component

• Incorrect configuration

• Inflexible configuration options

• Overzealous configuration tools

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