One of the outstanding things about UNIX is that all system configuration information is
stored in text files, usually in the directory /etc or its subdirectories. Some people
consider this method primitive by comparison with a flashy GUI configuration editor or a
‘‘registry,’’ but it has significant advantages. In particular, you see the exact system
configuration. With a GUI editor, the real configuration is usually stored in a format that
you can’t read, and even when you can, it’s undocumented. Also, you can see more of
the configuration at a time: a GUI editor usually presents you with only small parts of the
configuration, and it’s difficult...