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generated configure needs awk (was: Re: generated configure script doesn

From: Stepan Kasal
Subject: generated configure needs awk (was: Re: generated configure script doesn't work when "diff" isn't available)
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2008 13:18:44 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.17 (2007-11-01)

Hello Vincent,

On Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 07:49:58AM +0100, Ralf Wildenhues wrote:
> * Vincent Lefevre wrote on Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 01:20:50AM CET:
> > On 2008-03-19 23:31:18 +0100, Stepan Kasal wrote:
> > > The upcoming release of Autoconf is going to use it for
> > > instantiation of files nd headers, so virtually every
> > > autoconf-2.62-generated configure is going to require awk for its
> > > operation.
> > 
> > What does the current autoconf do?
> It uses awk to create all config files and config headers.  That's
> faster and scales better than using sed which it did before.

Let me clarify: It depends on definition of "current."

The latest released version, Autoconf 2.61, generates configure
scripts which use sed (a clumsy pipe of several sed commands,
actually) to create Makefiles and other config files and config

The development version, which will eventually be released as 2.62,
deploys awk there.

> > > BTW: does Maemo contain awk?
> > 
> > Yes, though I haven't tested it. But the Zaurus doesn't have it
> > (and there will be no upgrades).
> Please do, if you can, preferably with a git Autoconf snapshot.

I'd also like to ask you to help and run "make test" on Maemo.

I'm afraid there is not reasonable way we could make thing build on
Zaurus.  (I do not think we should back off the awk usage.)
But we probably should take care to have the error message as helpful
as possible.  ("No awk implementation has been detected on your
systems, please install it.  If you happen to use Zaurus/Sharp/Nxy
[use such names so that every user recognizes we mean his toy],
you might install a pre-compiled binary from this-n-that URL."
Something like that.)

Forgive me, but I'd like to add one more meta comment:

If a Unix-like system with long tradition contains a specific
behaviour, which all but the vendor clasify as a bug, I do feel
strong empathy for the trapped users.  One of the aspects is that
they really believed that they are buing a full-size POSIX-compliant

OTOH, when a newbie (student or a phone vendor) tries to cook up
something which fits into your wallet yet it miraculously contains a
full scaled Unix-like system, then my empathy is not so strong.
The "newbie" may do his task better or worse, yet it's _his_
adrenaline sport when he tries to remove as many components as
possible.  It's _his_ problem if he removes too much and his users
won't be able to do what's needed.  This sport is so nice because the
is a _risk_ that he would remove too much, making the
gadget-with-full-computer-inside less useful.  I'm not going to spoil
the game (or to deform the market) by investing into development of
ways to dance between the holes created by the vendor of such a
minimal environment.

You may not like the following, but:
free software _is_ better then a slaved one.  User's of maemo do have
a big advantage: their problems afre going to be fixed.  We cannot
hide that, at least in the case of awk.  And perhaps we shall not
hide that; our goal is not to propagate Autoconf, our goal is
propagating software freedom.

Just giving perspective, now back to practical problems.
The error msg about awk for Zaurus users should be as helpful as


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