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Re: A Closer Look at GNU AutoTools

From: Shawn H Corey
Subject: Re: A Closer Look at GNU AutoTools
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2014 20:02:47 -0400

On Thu, 4 Sep 2014 16:40:40 -0600
"John Calcote" <address@hidden> wrote:

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: address@hidden
> > [mailto:address@hidden On Behalf
> > Of Shawn H Corey
> > Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2014 4:05 PM
> > To: autoconf
> > Subject: Re: A Closer Look at GNU AutoTools
> > 
> ...
> > That's because you have forgotten what's it like to be faced with
> thousands
> > of pages of technical manuals about something you know nothing
> > about and all you want to do is a simple task.
> If you're looking for a tutorial that walks you through the small set
> of tasks that you personally need to perform, you're unlikely to find
> one unless you write it. This is just common sense. While there are
> many task-specific tutorials out there, the fact is, the Autotools
> are a general set of build tools designed to handle a million
> permutations of build requirements. The manuals are necessarily
> complete and generic.

No, it's not common sense. Cookbooks have been written for other tools,
programming languages, and operating systems.

> > You mean those ASCII diagrams that should be inside <pre></pre>
> > tags? And you don't think that's crappy?
> Are they in some way unreadable? The point is to convey information.
> If they accomplish that task, how could they be better? If the
> definition of crappy is "they're not polished eye candy", well then I
> guess they're crappy, but for my own uses they suffice.

They're unreadable in proportionally=space fonts. The web isn't stuck
with just monospaced ones.

> That said, however, please feel free to submit updated versions of
> these graphics that have a bit more polish to them. Please don't
> forget to submit the necessary changes to the documentation build
> system to make these graphics be properly incorporated into the
> document, and also don't forget to ensure the final pictures (if
> generated from source) are in a format that will be acceptable to the
> wide community of autotools users - probably at least PNG, but don't
> take my word for it - survey the list and ensure the chosen format is
> acceptable. See, it's not as easy as it looks - ASCII is probably a
> reasonable compromise.

"If you want to help, blah. Blah, blah, blah,..."

No wonder the documentation doesn't improve: it's too complicated to do
even a simple change.

Don't stop where the ink does.

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