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Re: M4sh tests 77 and 78 vs /bin/sh -> dash

From: Bob Friesenhahn
Subject: Re: M4sh tests 77 and 78 vs /bin/sh -> dash
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2020 13:12:42 -0500 (CDT)
User-agent: Alpine 2.20 (GSO 67 2015-01-07)

On Fri, 13 Mar 2020, Sébastien Hinderer wrote:

Is the time spent in the shell such a big part of configure's total
execution time?

I am also wondering how widely config.status is known by non-experts. I
guess in the situation where the time spent ocnfiguring matters, e.g.
when you are developing, running ocnfig.status would be enough.

For developers, who need to configure over and over again, using configure's --config-cache option helps quite a lot.

The best way to see if a shell actually appears to work and the amount of time spent in configure is to do something like

env CONFIG_SHELL=/bin/dash ./configure

and see how its timing compares with /bin/bash, or some other shell.

Some shells such as Sun/Solaris legacy /bin/sh just plain don't work (but there are viable alternatives via other paths).

It is not clear if bash is any slower than other shells at executing algorithmic things like loops, but it was noticed to be slower at parsing large numbers of simple commands and Autoconf configure scripts are often almost 1MB of script.

Bob Friesenhahn
GraphicsMagick Maintainer,
Public Key,

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