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make fails

From: peter
Subject: make fails
Date: Tue, 09 Jun 2009 12:47:59 -0400

   Some history first: I have a debian machine I haven't upgraded in a
while.  I upgrade it, apt-get falls apart and its suggested to me that I
should just reinstall.  I don't really care as I use it for only a few

   Today I noticed that "ps" produces some strange figures.  I assume
this is because of the half-upgrade and decide to replace it carefully
with coreutils tar.

   I run configure.  It runs fine.  I compile it, and every instance of
a variable not declared at the beginning of a block produces a compiler
error.  I assume this is some recent modification to the C standard that
is certainly reasonable, that the compiler on this machine doesn't have.

   But what I'm wondering is why doesn't the configure script catch it?
I'm used to running "./configure" on downloaded tarballs and I assumed
that the 30 seconds to a couple minutes of tests it runs are to ensure
compatibility with the system.

   So why doesn't it catch something so basic as a major change to the C
standard in the compiler?

   I don't know if this is a coreutils issue or a configure issue or
what, and its not a huge problem, maybe I should update the compiler
suite anyway.  But I would like to do what "configure" is for?

        - Peter

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