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Re: config.guess and freedom (was: 1.8 and mkdir_p)

From: Harlan Stenn
Subject: Re: config.guess and freedom (was: 1.8 and mkdir_p)
Date: Wed, 07 Jan 2004 13:51:20 -0800

(I am in a slightly crabby mood.  I apologize.  Bikeshed begins.)

> Harlan Stenn wrote in a footnote:
> > There are people who think a config.guess output that says:
> >
> >  i686-pc-linux-gnu
> >
> > is "normal", while some of us feel that is a particularly useless value and
> > would prefer to see something like:
> >
> >  i686-pc-redhat7.3
> >
> > instead, just like the original documentation spec'd out.
> This would go against the principle of freedom behind Linux and GNU.

Oh bite me.  That is, IMO, a giant crock.

It speaks more toward "we have to advertise GNU and linux" than the purpose
of the config.guess script, which is to help tool maintainers make choices
about how things that are hard to find out otherwise (like OS-based choices).

> One of the basic objectives with Linux is that anyone can make a distribution
> of his own. We should continue to support all distributions equally well.
> In you find a list of 125 of them, and
> I'm sure the number has grown since then.

> A configure script that has to check for 125 brand names, only for Linux,
> is not only unmaintainable, it also limits the freedom to fork a new
> distribution.

So for this reason people who write scripts (autoconf or otherwise) who can
successfully use config.guess to decide what the CPU, Vendor, and OS are
(which is what the original specs declared) are now in the position to only
have the OS info for non-gnu-linux boxes, because on gnu-linux boxes
everybody who wants to make OS-level decisions has to code their own tests
to figure out the OS name.

And yes, I am aware that distributions are not OSes, but hey, some of them
are getting close.

It is a cost shift that is really stupid and wasteful of a lot of resources.

In my opinion.


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