Terms for Software Configuration?

Subject: Terms for Software Configuration?
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 18:20:00 +0800

This is a question for people who write about system admin software. I
need to know whether there are industry accepted terms for installing,
configuring and messing with software. If not I'll have to make some up.
The stages and terms we use currently are:

Installation: - copy files from the distribution tape to a directory on
the target host
- create a user account and group
- change permissions and ownership for some files.

Apart from a few questions, the install script does all this automatically.

Configuration: lead the user through a series of tasks. These are a mix of:
- customer-specific info we must know, such as names of
privileged users, hosts, locations and tape drives
- optional details to supplement the defaults we provide to
every customer. Example: they can add details of their own
backup software to our list of standard UNIX backup formats
- asking permission to replace system commands. Sysadmins
don't like this -- we explain why and give them the choice

Some of these steps are mandatory (the software won't work without them)
and some optional (they can be done now or later or never).

A few days/weeks/months later, the administrator updates some information:

- adds details of a new computer and its tape drive
- makes the new operator a privileged user
- adds in details of a new batch of tapes
- schedules a virus-checking program to run every night

Some but not all of these steps were in the initial configuration, either
as mandatory or optional steps. What do you call this? Administration?
Housekeeping? Configuration? (as opposed to the 'initial configuration')

All of our software needs some configuration to start with. After that,
some is used a lot by people but rarely configured, some is used a lot and
re-configured a lot, and some just ticks over in the background, occasion-
ally being tuned or reconfigured but not really being 'used' by a person.
It's those little configuration steps *after* the initial configuration
that have me stumped. What would you call it?

Thanks if you made it this far.
Stuart Burnfield (slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au) On the fast track to ataraxia

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