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Re: automake and gettext macros

From: Bob Friesenhahn
Subject: Re: automake and gettext macros
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2007 20:32:55 -0500 (CDT)

On Tue, 30 Oct 2007, Bruno Haible wrote:

Instead of the separative thinking of automake vs. gettext vs. libtool vs.
gnulib, I would prefer to see more integrative thinking regarding the
GNU build system. Each of the 4 packages now has some tools for importing
*.m4 files ('aclocal', 'gettextize', 'libtoolize', 'gnulib-tool'), and
noone seems to think about how to reduce the problems caused by this
redundancy. The tools don't fit well together - they are obeying historically
grown interfaces.

You make a very good point. Many of the forces which shaped autotools have been completely arbitrary. The result does contain a *lot* of redundancy and unnecessary complexity.

If autoconf was expressed as a proper "language" (like Forth or Scheme) then the person installing some software would simply install the "autoconf" package of a sufficiently recent version, and then a tiny configure script provided with the package would simply invoke the commands to be executed. Instead every package using autoconf/automake/libtool includes the full command definitions at least once, and expanded many tens of times if shell functions are not used.

Bob Friesenhahn
GraphicsMagick Maintainer,

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