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More control over 'make dist'

From: Michal Privoznik
Subject: More control over 'make dist'
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2016 11:33:44 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:45.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/45.3.0

Dear list,

I'm a libvirt devel and I've ran into interesting problem. I'd like to
hear your opinions on it.

Libvirt is a virtualization library that uses XML to store a virtual
machine config. We have couple of tests in our repository too that check
whether XML configs are valid, and whether some operations change it in
expected way. Some operations don't change the XML at all, in which case
we just symlink the output file to point to the input file:

ln -s $ $xml.out

However, I was looking into archive produced by 'make dist' the other
day and found out that the symlinks are not preserved. I've traced down
the problem and found that autoconf is just hardcoding some of tar's
options. Namely -chf. Yes, it is -h that causes a symlink to be

So my question is, what do you think of making -h configurable? We could
add new tar-* option to AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE, say tar-symlinks, which would
suppress -h on tar's command line.

What are your thoughts?


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