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Re: automake parallel install

From: Ralf Corsepius
Subject: Re: automake parallel install
Date: 11 Jan 2002 02:53:38 +0100

> From: Havoc Pennington <address@hidden>
> To: address@hidden
> Subject: automake parallel install stuff
> Date: 08 Jan 2002 18:34:50 -0500
> Hi,
> I'm wondering if we could convince you and the autoconf guys to think
> about making incompatible autotools releases install in parallel.
Good idea, but ..

> I
> just patched the Red Hat Linux automake RPMs to work this way, the
> patches are very simple.

Well, AFAIS, these patches help to some (IMHO: questionable) extend but
miss some (IMHO) important issues (cf. below).

> I'm appending them. (In the tarballs you'd
> also need to change the to rename the install directories,
> I did that via "mv" in the spec file to avoid re-running automake in
> the automake specfile, which was just too complicated for me. ;-))
> Also, in the spec file I rename automake to automake-1.4, aclocal to
> aclocal-1.4, automake to automake-1.5, aclocal to aclocal-1.5, and
> symlink automake to automake-1.5. I provide versioned executables in
> both RPMs because those are probably the best ones for other packages
> to refer to - so the packages won't need to be changed when
> automake-1.6 appears and gets the "automake" symlink.
> Parallel install is really important 
> [..]
> We're seeing the same thing in GNOME - if packages could port to
> 2.53/1.5 piecemeal, then they'd all be ported already, but as it
> stands you have to port every module in GNOME at once or it's
> impossible to compile GNOME as a whole on one machine anymore, and no
> one wants to port every module in one go. So the barrier to entry for
> 1.5 is really high.
> If we could get the parallel install moved upstream, then we could
> count on everyone being able to install both versions and upstream
> packages could reference the "automake-1.5" executable.

The issue you are about to fix/work-around is not mixing automake's own
m4-macros, but your patches are missing further, IMHO even worse
important issues.

>From my experience, at present time, the main cause of autotool-problems
is incompatibilities between autoconf-2.13 and autoconf-2.5x (esp.
"underquoting" and canonicalization), then gettext (E.g. gettextize's
habit to edit ChangeLogs - renders almost useless),
then libtool (1.4.2 pulling in C++, 1.3: followed by
automake in last place.

One significant portion of these autotool-version related problems
actually stem from using autoconf-2.52-incompatible m4-macros
distributed with packages and installed to share/aclocal (eg.
gnome-macros, gtk.m4).

I.e. even with your patch applied, autotools will continue to fail on
GNOME-modules if using the wrong version of autotools, because some of
the macros in aclocal/ depend on using _one_ certain version of
_autoconf_ and will not help at all wrt. libtool(ize) and gettext(ize),
while the impact of using a specific version of _automake_ is close to

=> IMO, this patch is one alternative towards allowing parallel
installation of _automake_, but does not help much wrt. the actual
autotool-issues "Joe Occasional Installer" will meet (eg. when building 
GNOME modules).


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