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bug#7434: When an incorrect option is used before --help/--version, auto

From: Ralf Wildenhues
Subject: bug#7434: When an incorrect option is used before --help/--version, automake behaviour is inconsistent with that of other GNU programs.
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2010 18:41:08 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2010-08-04)

* Stefano Lattarini wrote on Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 06:41:20PM CET:
> > Besides, in the particular case of automake, how often do automake
> > or aclocal get invoked directly?  To my experience, they are almost
> > always invoked by autoreconf, ./bootstrap, or some custom autogen.sh
> > script.

(aside: autoreconf works just in the same way as automake in this

> > > > Let's address this on bug-standards before changing any programs.
> >
> Now a decision has been reached on bug-standards *not* to tighten the
> specification about the behaviour of --help and --version:
>  <http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-standards/2010-11/msg00010.html>

Nor to forbid the current behavior of automake.

> Considering that, do you agree to simplify the automake/aclocal option
> parsing by not trying to process --help/--version options encountered
> after invalid options?

I'm painfully aware that this is a near-bikeshed discussion, but I
simply fail to see the advantage of taking away existing functionality
helpful for the user, even if only a few users.  Code simplification is
nice, but this change wouldn't suddenly make automake fast, all that
much more readable, or anything similar.  Barring that there is a
technical advantage for our users[1], I remain unconvinced.


[1] A technical reason would be something like: erroring instead of
warning due to an unknown argument is better because it enables users
to write robust configure tests for arguments.  This doesn't apply here,
of course.

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