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What is supposed to happen in "make distcheck"

From: Bruce Korb
Subject: What is supposed to happen in "make distcheck"
Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2018 12:29:51 -0700

I ask because after printing this:

> =================================================
> autogen-5.18.15 archives ready for distribution:
> autogen-5.18.15.tar.gz
> autogen-5.18.15.tar.xz
> =================================================

I get this message:

> CDPATH="${ZSH_VERSION+.}:" && cd . && /bin/sh 
> /u/bkorb/tools/ag/autogen-bld/config/missing aclocal-1.16 -I config
> Makefile:488: recipe for target 'aclocal.m4' failed

I know the immediate cause. I fiddled while it was doing the distcheck:

> $ mkdir YYY ; mv configure* YYY/.

I was doing that because after distcheck, it was starting over. Over and over.
As I read the build rule for "distcheck:"

> # This target untars the dist file and tries a VPATH configuration.  Then
> # it guarantees that the distribution is self-contained by making another
> # tarfile.
> distcheck: dist
> [...]
>    @(echo "$(distdir) archives ready for distribution: "; \
>      list='$(DIST_ARCHIVES)'; for i in $$list; do echo $$i; done) | \
>      sed -e 1h -e 1s/./=/g -e 1p -e 1x -e '$$p' -e '$$x'

and that should be it. Clearly, something is awry causing something
else to be triggered, but I have no idea how to diagnose the issue. I
only know how to stop it with a manual intervention. (viz. moving the
configure* scripts out of the way.)

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