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Re: Future plans for Autotools

From: Paul Smith
Subject: Re: Future plans for Autotools
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2021 15:55:24 -0500
User-agent: Evolution 3.36.4-0ubuntu1

On Mon, 2021-01-25 at 13:27 -0700, John Calcote wrote:
> > To be honest if Automake-generated files only worked
> > for users with, say, sufficiently modern versions of GNU Make, I'm
> > not sure there would be any point in using Automake.
> I'm not sure I see your point Nick. Why use Automake? Because I'd
> much rather write (and maintain) two lines of automake code than even
> a single page of GNU make code.

I agree that automake is still useful.  GNU make itself still uses
automake, even though it provides a separate shell script to build GNU
make for systems that don't have any make program and as such, it could
easily just say "if you don't have GNU make use the script, then you
have GNU make" rather than caring about a portable makefile.

But, automake provides a lot of really useful boilerplate and even more
importantly (to me) ensures that the make environment conforms to
various GNU standards, such as variables, targets, etc., for free.

You may note, if you check out the Git repo for GNU make, that there's
a separate makefile "maintMakefile" which contains maintainer-specific
stuff which is written for GNU make and would be very hard to write in
"portable" make, but that file is not included in the released source
package because it doesn't contain anything that non-maintainers need.

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