A question asks to have a Samba configuration file reviewed. Do we consider a configuration file to be code? It's certainly not a Turing-complete language. Is Turing completeness a defining criterion?

Note that we can address many of our usual concerns, such as security, correctness in unexpected cases, formatting, comments, etc.

We already have many questions, most (all?) of which deal with mod_rewrite rulesets. We clearly haven't objected to those questions. But would we allow files that are not mod_rewrite rulesets? (If not, then the programming language is really [mod_rewrite] rather than .)

Where do we draw the line?


2 Answers 2


Programming, Administering, and Using are different aspects to computing.

  • A programmer builds an application - and exposes configuration hooks that can cause the program to execute different paths.
  • An administrator reads the program's documentation, and alters the configuration to suit their environmental needs.
  • The user is oblivious to these aspects, and is not relevant to this discussion.

Changing the configuration of the program does not actually change the program's behaviour, it just changes the parts of the program that are exercised, and, thus, the configuration is not actually code.

So, in my opinion, the config file is not code, and thus is not on-topic on Code Review.

The counter-argument about .htaccess files, is that the regular expressions really are micro-programs, that are embedded in a containing system. The regular expressions are compiled, and changing the regular expression changes the behaviour of the regex engine. The rest of the .htaccess fill is just 'context' for the regex program.

The bulk of the specific question would best be answered on Server Fault for systems in a business environments, or on Super User for hobby/single user systems.

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ Hmm... where's the line though. We review HTML, which is dangerously close to an XML config file. Also, one could argue that CSS doesn't actually change the behavior of the program, but it's "visual configuration", yet we review CSS here. -1, not because I disagree, but because this answer fails to "draw a line in the sand". \$\endgroup\$
    – RubberDuck
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 12:34

Do we consider a configuration file to be code?

I would say code is short hand for source code:

In computing, source code is any collection of computer instructions (possibly with comments) written using some human-readable computer language, usually as text.

I would say since Sambas configuration file is not a programming language it should be off topic.

This would make .htaccess files off-topic too. But I agree with rolfl here. They should be on topic as they contain micro-program(s) in the form of regex(s).

Where do we draw the line?

Does the question contain programming language(s) or micro-program(s)? If so it's on-topic.

This would also raise no concern as to whether I'm allowed to post an Awesome or xmonad config, which are written in Lua and Haskell respectively.

As RubberDuck said we review HTML, there may be an edge case if we allow / only questions. As Hyper Text Markup Language is not a programming language. But this is out of scope for the question.


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