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    Is /usr/sbin really the proper place for traceroute?
    Posted on Thursday, June 14 @ 15:20:24 BST

    Debian
    Once again the debate on moving some useful software from
    /usr/sbin to /usr/bin, and once again the same arguments come
    up. Whether to allow some breakage and move the software that
    users mostly use from /usr/sbin to /usr/bin.

    Interesting enough, there are a few programs in /usr/sbin
    that get invoked almost daily by a normal user, and still they
    are kept in /usr/sbin. One of these programs is traceroute
    which brought up the discussion this time, this time it was the
    maintainer of traceroute-nanog that wanted to know the general
    opinion, and as before failed to get a clear view of users
    opinions.

    Here is a small summary of the discussion

    The whole discussion can be found either at lists.debian.org or from Google

    thread 1
    and
    thread 2

    Ben Gertzfield quoted the following from FHS v2.2

            4.10 /usr/sbin: Non-essential standard system binaries
            4.10.1 Purpose
    
            This directory contains any non-essential binaries used exclusively by
            the system administrator. System administration programs that are
            required for system repair, system recovery, mounting /usr, or other
            essential functions must be placed in /sbin instead.
    

    The biggest point for against are:

    • traceroute must stay in /usr/sbin because moving it will
      break local scripts that depend on it being exactly where it
      has been for the last 5+ years.
    • To adhere to FHS, almost everything in /sbin,/usr/sbin
      will have to be moved out: ifconfig, sendmail, route,
      etc.

    Any single good reasons were not mentioned, although it
    makes perfect sense (at least to me) to move the file from sbin
    to bin. I think this comment covers pretty much of
    opinions:

            The useful purpose is fixing a FHS non-compliance bug.  Or the
            purpose is making the system more usable for users.
    
            The fact that other packages have had to exhibit breakage to
            "work around" this packages breakage, is hardly a glowing
            recommendation to keep things broken.
    
                                 -- Vince Mulhollon
    

    Personally i feel that suggesting things like adding
    /usr/sbin to your $PATH is kind of weird answer coming from
    people who try to make everything work like they are supposed
    to. Adding sbin to path is not a solution it's a workaround for
    an OLD bug. Personally i don't like workarounds if the original
    bug can be fixed, why not fix it and get the long term gain
    from it.

     
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  • "Is /usr/sbin really the proper place for traceroute?" | Login/Create Account | 9 comments
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    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    Re: Is /usr/sbin really the proper place for traceroute? (Score: 2, Insightful)
    by caf on Thursday, June 14 @ 16:08:14 BST
    (User Info)

    To alleviate the breakage of local scripts, if traceroute were moved to /usr/bin maybe the option could be given during configuration of the traceroute package to install a symlink in /usr/sbin - or at least give a warning that it has been moved.

    I can see that this could quickly become a nuisance though, if the same thing started happening on a regular basis.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Is /usr/sbin really the proper place for traceroute? (Score: 1, Interesting)
    by Anonymous on Thursday, June 14 @ 17:10:25 BST

    traceroute is a network debugging/diagnosing tool. Most "normal" users don't care unless the network breaks, and then can't necessarily fix it anyway. If you use traceroute (or other /usr/sbin) utilities alot, I have a simple suggestion or two for you.

    ln -s /usr/sbin/traceroute /usr/local/bin/

    or

    export PATH=$PATH:/usr/sbin

    Then go away and stop creating flamewars

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Is /usr/sbin really the proper place for traceroute? (Score: 1)
    by steelhawk (postmaster@127.0.0.1) on Friday, June 15 @ 12:15:18 BST
    (User Info)

    I don't really see why ping and traceroute are in so different dirs

    ping is in /bin ("needed during boot, normal user app")

    traceroute is in /usr/sbin ("not needed during boot, superuser app")

    And still... my use of traceroute is usually to see where something goes wrong if ping fails... why is then one considered to be needed before everything is mounted (possibly over nfs/similar) and the other not?

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Is /usr/sbin really the proper place for traceroute? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, June 16 @ 12:14:00 BST

    Traceroute is not only an admin tool. I use it regularily at work where I develop and support a network dependant application. The same can also be said about ifconfig. If I want to know the ip address of my machine, what better tool can I use than ifconfig?

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Is /usr/sbin really the proper place for traceroute? (Score: 1)
    by Thue on Saturday, June 16 @ 13:33:25 BST
    (User Info)

    In that discussion someone quoted FHS v2.2

    [begin quote]

    4.10 /usr/sbin: Non-essential standard system binaries

    4.10.1 Purpose

    This directory contains any non-essential binaries used exclusively by

    the system administrator. System administration programs that are

    required for system repair, system recovery, mounting /usr, or other

    essential functions must be placed in /sbin instead.

    [end quote]

    Since you most certaintly use it as an ordinary user (why else would it have the suid bit set), it should be in /usr/bin.

    Actually, since the policy says we should follow FHS a critical bug should be filed against the package!

    The only argument against with any substance I have heard is that it will break scripts to move it. Ironically, those scripts hardcode the placement because it wasn't in the normal path in the first place...

    I most definently think it should be moved (I think you guess that) :). Maybe maintain a symlink to /usr/sbin until all the scripts are corrected.

    What fun is making software if you that low that you refuse to fix obvious bugs that are slightly inconvenient. Open source is supposed to be good because you care for the details.

    And I remember that I spend some time locating traceroute the first time I used it because it wasn't in my path... 🙂

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Is /usr/sbin really the proper place for traceroute? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, June 19 @ 08:27:29 BST

    I think that is not a problem where executables are located in filesystem, but in general two things:

    1) must take a look to suggestion of Standard Filesystem

    2) I prefer to put binaries into SOMETHING/bin and scripts into SOMETHING/sbin

    I think /bin and /sbin must be dedicated only to boottime executables.

    email: roso@arena.sci.univr.it

    [ Reply ]


    How to use traceroute (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Thursday, June 21 @ 23:39:39 BST

    (insert obscenities randomly)

    here:~$ traceroute there

    bash: traceroute: command not found

    here:~$ sudo apt-get install traceroute

    Password:

    Reading Package Lists... Done

    Building Dependency Tree... Done

    Sorry, traceroute is already the newest version.

    0 packages upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.

    here:~$ whereis traceroute

    traceroute: /usr/sbin/traceroute /usr/share/man/man8/traceroute.8.gz

    here:~$ /usr/sbin/traceroute there

    [ Reply ]


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