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Re: backward compatability of tools

From: Dr. David Kirkby
Subject: Re: backward compatability of tools
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 2003 18:23:39 +0000

Bruce Korb wrote:
> "Dr. David Kirkby" wrote:
> >
> > Hi,
> >         I've found in the past bugs in software are often found on one
> > platform that don't seem to get noticed on another. For this reason I
> > just tried to build gcc-2.0 on an old Sun SPARCstation 20 running
> > SunOs 4.1.4 (ie hardware/software about 10 years old) to test some
> > software.
> << travails elided >>
> > Given I thought the aim of autoconf/automake was to allow easy
> > configuration of software, does one not think supporting older
> > hardware useful? I'd certainly like to be able to configure my
> > software so it runs on new and old hardware, if that is possible.
> Depends on:
> 1.  who you talk to
> 2.  whether or not you, personally, want to put the effort into it.
> By adding code to accommodate machines that only a miniscule handful
> of people use, maintainers have to sqander their precious time
> messing with the extra code and everyone else must sit through
> the accumulated fractions of seconds while tests are made to see
> if the current, up-to-date platform is really one of the ancient ones.
> Bad trade off all the way around. 

> A useful goal is to be able to
> target reasonably current versions of HP and IBM and Sun and Linux et al.

Recently I was looking to put another operating system on a Sun for
testing and someone suggested using SunOs 4.1.4, since it is still
used a fair amount. My machine now has gcc-2.0, but there is no way I
could even build gcc-3.2, simply because the configure script won't

In this case, the main issue seems to be that the configure script
can't find its own temporary files. My guess (and it is a guess) is
that should it find its files, it would probably build the program
okay. Whatever caused that problem, I would guess would not be that
hard to fix, although since I've never looked at the source for either
automake or autoconf, I don't know. 

Dr. David Kirkby,
Senior Research Fellow,
Department of Medical Physics,
University College London,
11-20 Capper St, London, WC1E 6JA.
Tel: 020 7679 6408 Fax: 020 7679 6269
Internal telephone: ext 46408
e-mail address@hidden

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