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OS-sympathetic installation

From: David Lee
Subject: OS-sympathetic installation
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 17:49:57 +0000 (GMT)

I'll instantly admit that I have very little experience of automake
(although a reasonable amount of autoconf), so my question may be way
off-beam.  Anyway...

Over the years, the "standardisation" of many packages, GNU and non-GNU,
onto the autoconf mechanism has vastly eased my life as an installer.
>From what I have seen so far of automake, this also looks to be hugely
advantageous to the typical end-user (even if the end-user never directly
sees the workings of autoconf and automake).

But there seems to be one vital missing component.  Way back in the olden
days, we needed "make install" to put the product into its final
location(s).  But these days, many operating systems have their own
package-management mechanisms (the word "package" is here overloaded!). 
My own experience is with the Solaris pkgadd/pkgrm family of commands, but
other Oses have other things such as "RPM" etc.

For such systems, the traditional "make install" is not ideal.  What would
be much better is something like "make OS-pkg" (needs a far better name) 
which would simply try to construct one or more RPM-like entities.  We
would then use the OS's own package-manager (RPM, Solaris pkgadd, etc.) to
install (and deinstall) these entities.

To those of installing, and maintaining, (and sometimes contributing to),
software from many different sources onto large numbers of machines with
different operating systems, the ability to use the OS's native
package-management (instead of "make install") could be most beneficial.

Has any thought been given to this idea?

(There is a tiny, unindexed, incidental mention of this possibility tucked
away on page 161 of the New Riders book "GNU autoconf, automake and
libtool", (good book, by the way!) but otherwise I haven't seen anything.
Have I missed it? Is this idea totally somehow (how?) fundamentally


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