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Running autoconf and autoreconf without autotools in the path

From: Christopher O Cowan
Subject: Running autoconf and autoreconf without autotools in the path
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2021 19:05:36 +0000

Just curious if there is a feature within autotools to allow me run autoconf 
and similar utilities via an absolute path, without the autotools suite 
commands, in the PATH.  Maybe this already exists, and I just haven’t stumbled 
across it?

I am aware, that this probably on enforced by convention, and that each 
individual package developer could change this at will.  And perhaps this is 
package/project specific.    I ran into this with rsync, just for the record.

I’m trying to do build on a platform where I’m trying to keep the footprint to 
the absolute minimum.    Most of my GNU tools including, autotools, use a 
separate prefix (that is not /usr/local).   I’m always worried that if I add 
the autotools, to my path, I have to thoroughly check for configure logs,  for 
artifacts that I may not want in my builds.   (Particularly with something like 
pkgconfig in the mix).

I’m envisioning a feature where certain commands might be specified by 
explicitly via ENV vars, when I’m actually running autoconf or autoreconf.
LIBTOOLIZE, etc..    In my mind, it would be easy to replace occurrences of 
automake in the templates, with something like
${AUTOMAKE:-automake}, for example.

I think this would allow a bit more control over the various build phases, 
including autogen and configure.
It would also allow me to run different versions of autotools, as well.

Chris Cowan

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