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Re: Which variable expands to /var?

From: Paul Smith
Subject: Re: Which variable expands to /var?
Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2008 11:09:07 -0500

On Thu, 2008-02-07 at 17:24 +0200, Bernd Jendrissek wrote:
> On Feb 7, 2008 5:09 PM, Jules Colding <address@hidden> wrote:
> > Wouldn't the world be a better place if the GNU Coding Standards
> > respected the FHS?
> >
> > IMHO it would.
> Perhaps, but I think the reasoning is that the common case is that of
> users installing packages into /usr/local, so as not to interfere with
> the operating system.

Exactly.  Autotools are not optimized for distributors.  They're
optimized for end-users, who may well not know anything about building
software.  The default behavior of autotools is an end-user installation
into a private area: maybe /usr/local, but maybe their own home
directory.  In general, on today's systems, it's a really, really bad
idea to use --prefix=/usr etc. because the package management system
"owns" all those directories.  If you're installing your own versions of
stuff you REALLY want to do it "somewhere else".

Of course, because it's GNU and UNIX and all, if you want to do it you
can.  It's just assumed that if you're experienced enough to want to
install software directly into your system directories, you're
experienced enough to provide the proper configure flags to do it.

> I agree that It Would Be Nice (tm) if ./configure would automagically
> choose FHS defaults if you asked it by, for example, specifying
> --prefix=/usr.  Then again, how would it know WHICH hierarchy standard
> to obey?

It would be really nice for autoconf to have a standard "--use-fhs" flag
or similar that would set all the path variables properly for FHS.

Maybe an enhancement request?

 Paul D. Smith <address@hidden>       
 "Please remain calm--I may be mad, but I am a professional."--Mad Scientist

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