As mentioned, what is the difference? or is there any concern to use them?


Unlike DOS-based OSes, in Unix and Linux file extensions are mostly meaningless outside of human-readable reasons. INI is a configuration file standard.

A .conf file could be an INI file, or it could be any other configuration system that the application supports. MySQL, for example, uses the file my.cnf by default for configuration, which is an INI file.

  • 2
    Are .ini files carry overs from Windows coders? – Rob Nov 6 '12 at 14:19
  • @Rob Kindof, but not really. It is like many programs will use an extension that defines the format (openbox's .xml config for example). There isn't really a solid convention. Personally I put the filetype as an extension if I use one (which I usually don't). – Kevin Cox Nov 6 '12 at 20:15

INI-style configuration files may have a format similar to this:




conf-style configuration files are more varied. They may look similar to this:

# A comment
button 1 {
  name "hello"
  "text" hi.there
  "more..." {
    "something 123"  bla.bla "123"

# Another comment
button 2 {
  # hello

Or perhaps a bit like this:

# set server port
server.port = 1234

# make everything go faster
machine.turbo_button = activated

It is frowned upon for configuration files on UNIX-like systems to have DOS/Windows style line endings, even if the file should have an '.ini' file extension.

  • There is nothing about the INI standard that says that ini files need DOS line endings. My php.ini file doesn't have them. – jordanm Nov 6 '12 at 18:14
  • 3
    do you have an example of such a UNIX application that expects its line endings to be DOS-style? – jordanm Nov 6 '12 at 19:59
  • This is pretty much my understanding, too. – Rob Nov 6 '12 at 20:42
  • Btw, dos line endings are \r\n, 0xD 0xA (decimal 13 and 10, not hex). – Kevin Nov 7 '12 at 13:26
  • 2
    and the line endings have nothing to do with the file format, it's just a normal text file with the usual system line endings. Most INI files use dos line endings because most INI files are on windows machines. – Kevin Nov 7 '12 at 13:31

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