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gettext version-numbering problems in Bison (+ Bison patch)

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: gettext version-numbering problems in Bison (+ Bison patch)
Date: Mon, 24 May 2004 13:18:30 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.1006 (Gnus v5.10.6) Emacs/21.3 (gnu/linux)

Paul Hilfinger reported that he couldn't build CVS Bison, and got the
following diagnostic from Bison's "bootstrap" script.

  autoreconf: running: autopoint --force
  cvs [checkout aborted]: no such tag gettext-0_14_1

That diagnostic is pretty obscure, and it threw both of us for a loop
for a bit.  I eventually tracked it down to an AM_GNU_GETTEXT_VERSION
line in Bison's configure.ac.

As it happens, CVS Bison builds just fine with older versions of
gettext (at least 0.14; I haven't checked others).  Bison bootstraps
everything out of whatever gettext version you're using, and it
doesn't use any recent gettext features.

This isn't the first time this has happened, and I'm afraid that this
dependency on exact gettext version is getting in our way.  I realize
why the feature is there: to encourage all maintainers to use the same
gettext version.  It's just that, with Bison, the feature turns out to
be counterproductive in practice.

Suggestions for the gettext maintainer:

 * Improve the quality of the autopoint diagnostic quoted above.

 * Provide an easy way to suppress the gettext version-number check.

 * Currently autopoint greps configure.ac for lines; I guess it should
   be tracing instead.  I can't put the AM_GNU_GETTEXT_VERSION line in
   an M4 macro in m4/something.m4, for example.  (I tried this as my
   first workaround attempt.)

I've installed the following patch to Bison to work around the problem
for now.

2004-05-24  Paul Eggert  <address@hidden>

        The gettext version checking is causing more trouble than it's
        curing; remove it.  Problem reported by Paul Hilfinger.

        * bootstrap: Issue a warning that one can expect a message
        'AM_GNU_GETTEXT is used, but not AM_GNU_GETTEXT_VERSION'.
        * configure.ac (AM_GNU_GETTEXT_VERSION): Remove.

Index: bootstrap
RCS file: /cvsroot/bison/bison/bootstrap,v
retrieving revision 1.8
diff -p -u -r1.8 bootstrap
--- bootstrap   3 May 2004 23:10:25 -0000       1.8
+++ bootstrap   24 May 2004 20:05:17 -0000
@@ -166,6 +166,7 @@ esac
 # Reconfigure, getting other files.
+echo "$0: Expect an 'AM_GNU_GETTEXT is used, but not AM_GNU_GETTEXT_VERSION' 
 echo "$0: autoreconf --verbose --install --force ..."
 autoreconf --verbose --install --force || exit
Index: configure.ac
RCS file: /cvsroot/bison/bison/configure.ac,v
retrieving revision 1.42
diff -p -u -r1.42 configure.ac
--- configure.ac        24 May 2004 06:57:16 -0000      1.42
+++ configure.ac        24 May 2004 20:05:17 -0000
@@ -103,7 +103,6 @@ BISON_PREREQ_TIMEVAR
 # gnulib and gettext.
 # Initialize the test suite.

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