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Re: autoreconf & gnulib

From: Bruno Haible
Subject: Re: autoreconf & gnulib
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 21:12:34 +0200
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Eric Blake wrote:
> Maybe it's time to teach autoreconf about gnulib-tool.  Now that GNU hello
> uses gnulib-tool, it is becoming more and more the recommended GNU way of
> building a project.  It would be nice if autoreconf 2.61 could
> automatically invoke gnulib-tool between autopoint and aclocal if it
> detected the presence of a gnulib-cache.m4 in the project's m4 directory.

Interesting idea... but

  - gnulib is a constantly moving target. It also makes changes that are
    not backward compatible. This has the effect that "gnulib-tool --update"
    might work today and give an error tomorrow. Whereas autoreconf is
    often used in batch mode, for example in rpm .spec files. And even if
    autoreconf is run manually by a user: You cannot expect that every
    user of autoreconf is watching the gnulib list, looking out for
    announcements of incompatible changes.

  - Where is gnulib installed? Do you expect it in the PATH, as a symlink?
    Do you expect the environment variable $GNULIB_TOOL to be set? What
    do you do if gnulib-tool is not found and the system has no internet

  - So far, most packages invoke gnulib-tool from their or
    'bootstrap' script. So far, they also do it in wildly different ways.
    It's normal, we are still experimenting with the methodology to use it.
    But that means, it's too early for being firmly connected with other
    parts of the GNU Build System.


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