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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 18:57:41 +0100
User-agent: KMail/1.13.7 (Linux/2.6.30-2-686; KDE/4.6.5; i686; ; )

On Tuesday 22 November 2011, Ralf Corsepius wrote:
> >> That said, apart from the fact that each generation of automake
> >> maintainers at one point in his automake-carriere comes up with "switch
> >> to gmake",
> This to me is the real point. I feel history repeats.
I guess that's the sad fate of humanity ;-)
> >> my feel is automake must not use gmake because (in theory)
> >> there should not be any to use gmake.
> >>
> > I don't understand what you're trying to convey here, sorry.
> Sorry, fedora's broken thunderbird had corrupted my sentence:
> Let me try to rephrase it:
> If automake so far has been able to achieve its job, by not using gmake 
> proprietary constructs in its Makefile.ins, then there should not be any 
> need for automake to _now_ start using gmake-constructs in Makefile.ins.
> Or simpler: So far, automake has not been using gmake, so why should it 
> now start doing so?
Because IMHO the cost/benefit ratio of using portable make only has become
higher and higer -- not because the cost of writing portable Makefiles has
increased, rather because the the benefits of doing so have stadily
decreased over time, thanks to the "rise" of GNU/Linux and, considerably
less, of Cygwin (rise which has had as a consequence that fact that their
versions of the standard tools have become more widespread and easily

> >>> Another question is if GNU make is really good enough to warrant this
> >>> sort of change.
> >> Good point - gmake has a long history of "hickups" :-)
> >>
> > Care to elaborate on this?
> Difficult to answer for me, because I am using automake with gmake (i.e. 
> my works rely upon the subset of make-constructs automake uses) and do 
> not exploit gmake. But I recall there had been massively broken gmake 
> releases and releases with major functional changes, which had broken a lot.
This sounds scary.  Still, I'd like to see for such a serious statement
more solid proof and references than hearsay and vague memories.

As an aside, you (involountarily?) raised an ortoghonal, interesting
point: the fact that many projects uses automake-generated Makefiles,
which relies only on a tiny subset of the GNU make features, implies
that the more advanced and thus potentially tricky of those features
are much less tested "real-wordly-wise" than they could be.  Having
Automake-generated Makefiles require GNU make could probably help, in
the long run, to  improve the quality of GNU make itself.


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