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Re: Serial number formats

From: Ralf Wildenhues
Subject: Re: Serial number formats
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2009 20:40:35 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.18 (2008-05-17)

Hello Bruno, all,

* Bruno Haible wrote on Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 12:53:19AM CET:
> Eric Blake wrote:
> > Maybe the solution is to expand automake's list of valid serial lines.
> > True, it won't help until after the next Automake release, but if there
> > are enough files in the wild that use '# file.m4 serial n', it seems like
> > we should make it a valid format rather than forcing all those files to
> > change.
> For information: autopoint-0.18 will use this code to extract the serial
> version from the first line:
> sed_extract_serial='s/^#.* serial \([^ ]*\).*/\1/p
> 1q'
> existing_serial=`sed -n -e "$sed_extract_serial" < "$1"

What exactly is the point of using a different format and extraction
code than aclocal does?  If this is incompatible on purpose, rather than
by accident, then why not come out and state so flatly, and consequently
use a format that isn't accidentally mistaken by humans to be compatible?

Gettext is using a format slightly incompatible to the aclocal one here,
it's confusing for users that it does so, since it is not different
enough to be realized as being different.  I have so far seen no reason
whatsoever why aclocal should change, rather than Gettext.  The aclocal
format for serial numbers can embody all needed information, as noted by

Thanks for enlightening me.


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