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Re: [gnu-prog-discuss] Could automake-generated Makefiles required GNU m

From: Stefano Lattarini
Subject: Re: [gnu-prog-discuss] Could automake-generated Makefiles required GNU make?
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 16:35:59 +0100
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On Tuesday 22 November 2011, Dave Hart wrote:
> At the risk of repeating myself from the last time this question came
> up, let me selfishly say as a NTP maintainer that I do not look
> forward to NTP configure failing with a message indicating GNU make is
> required and could not be located.  I have no appreciation for how
> much simpler and easier to maintain Automake might become with a shift
> from targetting portable make to requiring GNU make.  I've never
> maintained Makefile or files in a GNU-make-only project.
> I do find it is sometimes easier to track down problems affecting both
> GNU make and more traditional implementations using a traditional make
> as the verbose debug output of GNU make is so much longer due to more
> implicit rules.
> It would be my inclination to stay with older Automake as long as
> feasible if newer Automake drops support for traditional make.
That should be feasible, since we should continue to support "classical
automake" for few years at least.  Also, after these years, two scenarios
are possible:

 1. "Automake 2" turns out to be a failure, it gets abandoned, and
    "Automake 1" becomes again the center of all our developement
    efforts.  No problem for you, since you're still using this older

 2. "Automake 2" is a success, and we drop support for Automake 1.  At
    this point, it shouldn't be too big a pain for you to convert to the
    new automake (a good documentation about incompatibilities between,
    and/or transition from, automake 1 and 2 should exist at this point).
    Also, assuming that many other packages are using automake 2 by now,
    and thus requiring GNU make, it should be much more acceptable for
    the NTP build system to do the same.

> Harlan Stenn, who initially converted the NTP code to use Autoconf and
> Automake, likely has a different perspective which might well matter
> more than mine.
I think it would be premature to start discussing now about the
possibility of such a transition to the "new automake".  Let's wait
at least until automake 2 isn't just wishful-thinking vaporware :-)


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