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Could automake-generated Makefiles required GNU make? (was: Re: [gnu-pro

From: Stefano Lattarini
Subject: Could automake-generated Makefiles required GNU make? (was: Re: [gnu-prog-discuss] portability)
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 21:56:13 +0100
User-agent: KMail/1.13.7 (Linux/2.6.30-2-686; KDE/4.6.5; i686; ; )

[moving to the automake list]

Hi Richard.

First, let me thank for your intervention: I really appreciate you're
taking a personal interest and partecipation in this thread (and in
this automake issue in particular).

On Monday 21 November 2011, Richard Stallman wrote:
> Stefano Lattarini wrote:
> <>
> > Notice that, despite of the (semi)-consensus reached there, I'm becoming
> > more and more convinced that, in the long run, requiring GNU make to run
> > the automake-generated Makefiles would be an acceptable move (for automake
> > 2.0, that is).  But only because GNU make is *so* much better than
> > portable make (which is extremely limited), because GNU make is very
> > portable and easy to build and install (and free from bootstrapping
> > problems AFAIK), and because the incompatibilities between different
> > make versions are so appalling.
> Maybe you are right, but I am very cautious about such changes.
> I think we should poll the users about it.
That might sound like a good idea, but IMHO polling the wider user base
(i.e., those who are not GNU developers, nor subscribed to the automake
lists) will turn out to be a tricky matter.

Here is my tentative plan to act on the proposal:

  1. We start requiring GNU make in an "experimental" automake 2.0
     development line (which might, and will, break whathever
     backward-compatibility gets in its way).
  2. Concurrently, we continue to support the more portable (and
     tested, and used-in-the-real-world) 1.x line, with bugfixes
     at least (and probably also with addition of new not-too-big
  3. We publicize this move in the automake (1.x) web pages,
     documentation, etc, inviting users and developers to try out
     the new "automake 2.0 pre-alpha", and to send cricisims,
     suggestions, praise and ranting to the automake lists.
  4. Time and user responses decide wether automake 2.0 will
     succeed or die out.


> Maybe in the discussion we should distinguish GNU-like systems
> (perhaps including Mac OS)
Do you mean POSIX-like systems?

> and totally dissimilar systems such as Windows, iOS and Android.
I agree this distinction would be a good idea.

As an aside, note that automake-generated Makefiles already target
only reasonably POSIX-ish environments; thus, for example, they
don't work on Windows proper -- they require the presence of an
emulation layer like Cygwin or MinGW/MSYS.

Best regards,

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