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Re: kde moves to scons. The future of autotools?

From: Ralf Corsepius
Subject: Re: kde moves to scons. The future of autotools?
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2005 12:39:13 +0200

On Wed, 2005-09-14 at 13:52 -0500, Bob Friesenhahn wrote:
> On Wed, 14 Sep 2005, Peter Volkov Alexandrovich wrote:
> >
> > The aim of scons is to replace gnu build system, but what are the weak
> > sides of gnu build system? 
So far, scons is an exotic niche amongst other tools with almost no
relevant history.

> > Yes I know it's rather complex and do not use
> > md5sum to check for changed files but autotools is time-tested solution.
> > Could scons replace ./configure, that is standart de facto?
> The biggest weakness of the GNU build system (as well as one of its 
> major strengths) is that it makes no assumptions about the 
> installation environment.  Rather than assuming/reqiring that certain 
> non-standard tools are available, the GNU build system is designed to 
> work with only the lowest common denominator standard utilities.
> As a result, packages using the GNU build system can be installed on 
> almost any machine which offers the basic prerequisites like a C 
> compiler.  The GNU build system is very reliable and extremely mature 
> due to many years of use and strong support.
Exactly. No matter which solutions people might come up with, they will
have to prove sustainability.

No matter how imperfect current autotools are, I haven't seen any tool
yet that comes close to the autotools ;)

> The drawback is that due to the use of relatively crude tools like sh, 
> sed, awk, and make, the GNU system is more complex, larger, and more 
> difficult to maintain.  If the GNU system could rely on an evironment 
> like Python, Perl, or Ruby being pre-installed, then it could be much 
> smaller, faster, and easier to maintain.
I never understood, why autoconf can't rely on a single shell (say bash
or else) or adopt a (may-be stripped down) shell as part of autoconf

It would make configure scripts much smaller and easier to use.


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