let me try to respond to this pragmatically and in good humour.
In general I think standards are useful and important, and unless
there is a compelling reason not to, one should try to keep to standards.
In the case of cfengine, the practice of using /var/cfengine as
cfengine cache/private data was established long before linux was a
twinkle in anyone's eye. It is based on cross-platform pragmatism, not
on Linux ideas - since cfengine has to run on all operating systems.
Anyone can set up their config files in /etc and their binaries in
/bin if they want to -- cfengine doesn't care. But, in order to have
seamless updating and operational resilience in the case of
filesystems that might be network mounted, cfengine wants to *cache*
everything in /var -- indeed it requires it.
You should think of /var/cfengine as analogous to /var/mail or
/var/cron -- what happens there is none of the OS's business. But you
cannot remove these locations without breaking the system -- and
indeed you shouldn't. (As with cfengine, both of these programs
pre-date Linux.) Indeed, you are actually doing the user a dis-service
by forcing the Linux bureaucracy onto users. Symbolic links are a
fragile mechanism, never recommended for something mission critical.
One can try to argue that now that we have a nice standard everyone
should change - unfortunately the compelling reasons to have this
cache are still there. The Linux standard is not a standard; moreover
/bin and /etc are not cross-platform guaranteeable locations. The
cfengine practice started in the days on diskless workstations - then
it seems they had gone away forever, and back they came as thin
clients. I approach this from the perspective that cfengine is part of
basic infrastructure and it just has to work -- it is not like
changing the location of X11R6 (also pretty non-standard). Moreover,
it is better to have a fixed location on all systems than a different
location on every OS (take heed Debian bureaucrats).
A change in cfengine modus operandi would affect millions of
installations, so it is not something to do lightly. I suspect that
there is no good reason to do so other than the desire to promite
bureaucracy over reason. It is like asking the British to drive on the
right, or America to go metric (or use international paper sizes!) --
it would cause too much disruption for too little gain.
So, I'm sorry for your disappointment, but as the EU itself has been
discovering lately, solid traditions are difficult to replace with
modern rules and regulations. I will keep your thoughts in mind, but I
wouldn't hold your breath for any changes. I propose, as other have
pointed out, that resilience and simplicity are more important than
conformity in this case.
Professor of Network and System Administration
Oslo University College, Norway
Personal Web: http://www.iu.hio.no/~mark
Office Telf : +47 22453272