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Re: distinguish automake 1.11 from 1.12+ at autoconf time

From: Ralf Corsepius
Subject: Re: distinguish automake 1.11 from 1.12+ at autoconf time
Date: Thu, 09 Aug 2012 05:53:15 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:14.0) Gecko/20120717 Thunderbird/14.0

On 08/08/2012 05:13 AM, Bob Friesenhahn wrote:
On Mon, 6 Aug 2012, Eric Blake wrote:

What _specific_ feature are you using from 1.12 that wasn't present in
1.11?  Or put another way, either your works equally well
with both versions (so you don't care which version), or there's
something you do with 1.12 that doesn't work with 1.11 and therefore you
are trying to make it conditional so that 1.11 can still process the
rest of the file.  Determine that feature, and we are that much closer
to helping you conditionalize your to work with both

This logic is reversed.  I am mostly worried about features that my
package currently depends on which have been announced to be deprecated
for no apparent reason, and without a sufficiently functional
work-around, and with only the sound of crickets chirping when these
issues are brought up on the list.

That's one point ... worse are such cases, when automake changes behavior of something which had worked for many years, between of minor automake releases. Such cases simply must not happen.

Most likely others are also worried that their project will stop working
properly if a newer Automake is used.
This worry is justified.

Esp. with packages, whose upstream maintainers do not ship prebuilt auto*tools generated files and want their users to rerun the autotools (IMO, this qualifies as improper use of the autotools), and which packages which for one or the other reason need the auto*tools to be rerun during building a package, is problem is for real.

In Fedora, after mass-rebuilts (Rebuilding all 10000+ packages the Fedora distributions consists of), we typically are facing larger numbers of packages, failing to build just because of some auto*tool version-jump having introduced behavioral or API changes and have broken something.

Automake provides a means to
prevent a lesser version of Automake from being used, but not a greater
version because it was always assumed that documented Automake
functionality was like a contract which would never be broken without
good cause.


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