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Re: What is minimum set of Automake work files needed for distribution o

From: John Calcote
Subject: Re: What is minimum set of Automake work files needed for distribution on github?
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 2015 12:05:41 -0600

Hi Robert,

The Autotools were created to meet a specific need - that of the open
source distribution model supported by many open source projects where,
occasionally - or perhaps nightly, the project maintainers would release a
source tarball containing a configure script and files. As a
regular user, you'd want to just download a tarball, extract, and run
./configure && make.

However, as a potential contributor, you'd want the source repository so
you could create patches against the tip of a particular branch. So you'd
clone the source repository and use the Autotools to create a configure
script for yourself in your repository work area.

Thus, the usual technique is to commit the Autotools source files required
by your project, but to NOT commit a configure script. Anyone wanting to
clone your repository is expected to be "developer enough" to know how to
run "autoreconf -i" to create the configure script.

While you CAN commit a configure script, it generally causes more problems
than it solves, as you find yourself committing an updated configure script
for lots of little project changes. Regardless, many projects do this -
especially lately on projects hosted by github, mainly (I believe) because
github has defined a new trend in the open source world where "regular
users" tend to get the source from the repository rather than from a
tarball, more often than not these days.

Here's a resource you might find helpful:


On Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 4:20 AM, Robert Parker <address@hidden> wrote:

> I need to meet the requirements of 2 sets  of users, the ordinary user who
> is only interested `./configure; make; make install` and the power users
> who want to start with `autoreconf`.
> So far google search on the topic has only increased my confusion.
> --
> The Bundys, Cliven, Ted and Al. Great guys to look up to.

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