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Re: Future plans for Autotools

From: Nate Bargmann
Subject: Re: Future plans for Autotools
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2021 19:53:28 -0600

Thanks for your effort over this past year, Zack.  As a user of
Autoconf, your work, as is that of all contributors, is much

One strength of the Autotools that I think stands above the rest is the
fact that a user of a distributed package does not need to install any
of the Autotools packages.  On the odd occasion I build a cmake or qmake
based project locally I always need to install those build bootstrap
systems.  This, I think, was a stroke of genius from the start on the
part of Autoconf.  I think this should always be a primary goal of the

Another concern I think any project maintainer that uses the Autotools
has is compatibility between versions.  The files that I
maintain generally require a rather old version of Autoconf and work
well, at least though 2.69.  I'm not aware of glaring bugs that affect
us.  A reworked Autoconf that leaves behind m4 would be welcome so long
as a present file could be left in place to be used when an
older Autoconf version is installed on older systems.  This would likely
require a new default name for an incompatible version of Autoconf,
though this might cause issues with Automake and Libtool.

Thanks for taking an active interest in this project.

- Nate


"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all
possible worlds.  The pessimist fears this is true."

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