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Re: --help should not require --srcdir

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: --help should not require --srcdir
Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2011 11:35:30 -0600
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On 07/28/2011 11:05 AM, Sam Steingold wrote:
* Eric Blake<address@hidden>  [2011-07-28 10:57:24 -0600]:

On 07/28/2011 10:48 AM, Sam Steingold wrote:
this should not happen:

$ ./configure --help
configure: error: cannot find sources (lispbibl.d) in . or ..

While I agree with your sentiment, I can't reproduce it with this
amount of information.

how about

That should always work.

cp configure /tmp

That's where things fall apart. A configure file should not be moved in isolation from the rest of its project. Granted, the --help output in that case could still be a bit nicer, maybe along the lines of:

configure: error: cannot find sources (lispbibl.d) in . or ..
This configure script is designed to configure the lisp package,
but only works when this script is located in the same directory as
the source code for that package.

Patches for improving the error condition output are welcome. But as most users won't get into that error condition, I don't see it as a pressing bug.

It does not matter that configure is in the current directory.

Correct - it is always possible to run a configure located in some other directory (such as VPATH builds, where you do mkdir build, cd build, ../configure).

It could have been copied of linked over from the source tree and
intended to be run by a top-level configure with --srcdir argument.

Huh? Configure should not be copied or linked over from the source tree into the build tree. It should always be run from the source tree.

However, there is no reason for any program to report an error when
given the --help switch, no matter where the program is located.

Yes there is, if the program can do nothing useful in its current location. Just like './configure --help' must also report an error if if it encounters a write error trying to output help information to stdout.

Can you provide a minimal file that reproduces this
problem, or even a pointer to the project whose is
causing this failure to see if the bug is in that instead
of in autoconf?

hg clone
cd clisp
./configure build-dir
cd build-dir
./configure --help

Why is build-dir/configure being created? It seems like you should instead be be doing:

cd build-dir
../configure --help

since configure should not be copied into build-dir, but left in srcdir.

Eric Blake   address@hidden    +1-801-349-2682
Libvirt virtualization library

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