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Re: [gnu-prog-discuss] Could automake-generated Makefiles required GNU m

From: Bob Friesenhahn
Subject: Re: [gnu-prog-discuss] Could automake-generated Makefiles required GNU make?
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 09:50:10 -0600 (CST)
User-agent: Alpine 2.01 (GSO 1266 2009-07-14)

On Tue, 22 Nov 2011, Stefano Lattarini wrote:

Which IMHO would be a "killer benefit" :-)

But now that I think about it, a GNU make-based rewrite might also offer
better extensibility (if we get the APIs right, that is), and that would
be a *great* improvement over the current situation, and one which would
benefit the whole user base (not only the maintainers).

Only Automake maintainers (a diminishingly-small percentage of the total user base) care about how easy it is to maintain Automake. The users care about how easy and reliable it is to build the software.

It would be useful to enumerate the user-visible benefits if Automake can depend on using GNU make. Otherwise it is difficult to do a cost/benefit analysis from the user perspective. Can you and others please brainstorm a list of benefits (e.g. eliminate external 'compile' and 'depcomp' scripts with the benefit of better ...)?

Another question is if GNU make is really good enough to warrant this sort of change. A build system which did not need to depend on pattern-based recipies and flimsy timestamps and which maintains full knowledge of what went into the build should really be the ultimate target. There is little doubt that GNU make is better than portable make, but (IMHO) its dated paradigm (shared by all classic timestamp-based make tools) is not sufficient to get us where we should be. Some more "out of the box" type thinking is useful.

Bob Friesenhahn
GraphicsMagick Maintainer,

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