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

From: Bob Friesenhahn
Subject: Re: [gnu-prog-discuss] Could automake-generated Makefiles required GNU make?
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 12:29:30 -0600 (CST)
User-agent: Alpine 2.01 (GSO 1266 2009-07-14)

On Tue, 22 Nov 2011, Stefano Lattarini wrote:

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

Empires come and go. Regardless, there is no reason for other perfectly good systems to throw in the towel just yet.

The problem that Automake still needs to solve is enable the easy construction of reliable build systems for large projects with many build products and source files occupying a large directory tree. Relying on GNU make may make accomplishing this easier, but it does not solve the Talking Heads "How Did I Get Here" problem we are in now. The GNU build system has ended up where it is today based on refinements to approaches and build tools invented in the late '70s and early '80s. Even autoconf dates from the early '90s.

A build system which requires one or more processes to entirely orchestrate the build order and rules based on mere file existence and simple timestamps is fundamentally broken. Currently observed problems will only grow worse.

Bob Friesenhahn
GraphicsMagick Maintainer,

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