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Re: --with-foo= vs. FOO=${FOO:-foo_default}

From: Russ Allbery
Subject: Re: --with-foo= vs. FOO=${FOO:-foo_default}
Date: Sun, 01 Sep 2002 23:45:22 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.090008 (Oort Gnus v0.08) XEmacs/21.4 (Honest Recruiter, sparc-sun-solaris2.6)

Paul Eggert <address@hidden> writes:

> The GNU coding standards say this:

>    You will note that the categories `--with-' and `--enable-' are
>    narrow: they *do not* provide a place for any sort of option you might
>    think of.  That is deliberate.  We want to limit the possible
>    configuration options in GNU software.  We do not want GNU programs to
>    have idiosyncratic configuration options.

> So the recommended practice is to not do what you're doing.  :-)

This seems like obviously bad advice to me.  How is one expected to handle
something like specification of a default paper size unless there's a user
switch somewhere?

Surely the GNU coding standards aren't arguing that editing a cryptic
configuration file is an improvement over a configure switch?

> If you really want to do it anyway, despite the recommendation, I
> suggest using environment variables.

Wow, this seems like an even worse idea.  Now the user doesn't see any
mention of the option when they run ./configure --help and you have to
explain how to set environment variables.

Russ Allbery (address@hidden)             <>

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