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bug#33573: Patch to replace symlinks with files

From: Bogdan
Subject: bug#33573: Patch to replace symlinks with files
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2022 13:04:53 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:102.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/102.6.1

Karl Berry <karl@freefriends.org>, Fri Dec 30 2022 00:33:03 GMT+0100 (Central European Standard Time)
     Another simple patch from my side: when '--copy' given to
     '--add-missing', copy the standard files even if symlinks already exist.

I am not sure about changing the behavior here. Although the behavior
you propose is plausible, I fear that people might depend or expect on
failure if symlinks exist. It doesn't seem bad to me to require the user
to clean up their own symlinks, instead of assuming the overwriting
should be done. There's no way to know what the situation really is.

What I suggest is making the new behavior of deleting existing symlinks
iff -f is *also* given.  If the user says "force" and "copy" then ok, we
can figure they're asking for what they're getting.

Wdyt? --thanks, karl.


Sure, no problem from my side. This is actually already the current behavior, from what I see (but I didn't check in detail). Someone reported a bug for this, so I simply gave it a try.

The user has a point: --copy was given, but the files were not copied. This may be a bit confusing. But this depends on the point of view, I guess, and both behaviors have a point and can be correct, depending on who you're asking. We can as well leave the current behavior, as you say: make the user be clear about what they want and maybe allow Automake one day behave differently (like exit with an error if a symlink exists and -c given, but no -f, etc.).

Just maybe make something clearer in the documentation and/or the help message in such case, like:

-c, --copy with -a, copy missing files if they or their symlinks don't already exist (default is symlink)

-f, --force-missing force update of standard files (with -c copies the files even if symlinks exist)

Automake docs:

     When used with ‘--add-missing’, causes installed files to be
copied if files or symlinks don't already exist. The default is to make a symbolic link.

P.S. I hope to reply to your other patch in the next day or two.

No problem - thanks for confirmation that they actually arrived. I thought the mails got lost in some black hole, because I'm not subscribed and I didn't see them in the mailing list's archive :).

Regards - Bogdan ('bogdro') D.                 (GNU/Linux & FreeDOS)
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