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bug#33573: Patch to replace symlinks with files

From: Bogdan
Subject: bug#33573: Patch to replace symlinks with files
Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2022 20:20:40 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:102.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/102.6.1

Karl Berry <karl@freefriends.org>, Sat Dec 31 2022 03:30:42 GMT+0100 (Central European Standard Time)
Hi Bogdan,

     Someone reported a bug for this, so I simply gave it a try.

Thank you! I didn't realize you were working on some of the old bugs.
That is great!


To bring this one in particular to fruition: can you check what happens
when -c -a would need to overwrite a symlink? I think it should just
give a warning. Then the user can decide what to do.

It simply doesn't do or say anything, because the object already exists (the subroutine simply leaves).

$ rm -f doc/texinfo.tex
$ automake --add-missing
doc/Makefile.am:1: installing 'doc/texinfo.tex'
$ ll doc/texinfo.tex
lrwxrwxrwx 1 bogdan bogdan 36 gru 31 19:48 doc/texinfo.tex -> /usr/share/automake-1.16/texinfo.tex
$ automake --add-missing --copy

And, can you check that automake -a -f -c does in fact overwrite a
symlink with a copy? And, I guess, that -a -f, without the -c,
overwrites files with symlinks? (Or, if it gives an error now, that's ok

The combination '-a -f -c' does what's expected (replaces a symlink with a regular file):

$ ll doc/texinfo.tex
lrwxrwxrwx 1 bogdan bogdan 36 gru 31 19:48 doc/texinfo.tex -> /usr/share/automake-1.16/texinfo.tex
$ automake --add-missing --copy
$ automake --add-missing --copy --force-missing
$ ll doc/texinfo.tex
-rw------- 1 bogdan bogdan 374230 gru 31 19:49 doc/texinfo.tex

That's where my idea about updating the documentation comes from - may not be clear enough.

Just '-a -f' does indeed replace regular files with symlinks:

$ ll doc/texinfo.tex
-rw------- 1 bogdan bogdan 374230 gru 31 19:49 doc/texinfo.tex
$ automake --add-missing --force-missing
$ ll doc/texinfo.tex
lrwxrwxrwx 1 bogdan bogdan 36 gru 31 19:51 doc/texinfo.tex -> /usr/share/automake-1.16/texinfo.tex

$ automake --version
automake (GNU automake) 1.16.5

And that the test checks this stuff?

The change I'm implementing is tested by the test I've added. It simply checks if after --copy the file is not a link:

$AUTOMAKE --add-missing --copy
test ! -h texinfo.tex || exit 1

(unneeded parts removed)

Sorry, but these are the kinds of nitty-gritty things that every
automake change needs to think about.

Yes, testing and portability is important, I know.

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

Yes, agreed. No problem there.

     I'm not subscribed

If you intend to keep working for a while on automake (I hope so), you
should subscribe to the mailing lists, especially bug-automake and
automake-patches. Unfortunately the debbugs software does not send mail
to everyone who has been on a given bug (not even the bug originator),
but only to the associated mailing list, as I understand it.

I see. We'll see what my future work on Automake will look like. Maybe I could contribute something useful. Right now, I'm planning just one more patch ("the last this year" - yes, it's still 2022 here :) ) and later we'll see what time allows. I also have my own projects to look after once in a while :).

Some guide like "to implement this and this, you need to change/add subroutine that and that" would be nice for beginners.

I wish there would be some kind of roadmap or a list of interesting ideas to-do in Automake. The "PLANS" doesn't have much, not for me, at least... Otherwise, I don't know if e.g. Automake 2.0 is implemented in 99% already or is it maybe just 1% and a full re-write is planned.

For the same reason, it is good to explicitly cc a bug's originator and
anyone else who has contributed to the bug, if you happen to have them.

I didn't want to send any notifications to the bugs in case my patches get rejected for some reason (like they don't work on *BSD/some antique Unix, don't match the programming style, etc., or are completely against the idea).

Furthermore, Automake doesn't get so many releases, as I see, so even implementing a fix doesn't mean that it will go to a release any time soon.

     and I didn't see them in the mailing list's archive :).

I see all your messages there now, I believe:

As I recall, there is a delay of up to an hour or maybe more before the
archives are updated. Unfortunately it does not happen when a message is
received; there's a separate polling cron job :(.

Right. They're there. Unfortunately, the Automake website points to https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/automake-patches/ instead :). That's also where I send my mails to, not knowing they end up in "bug-automake". Minor issue, but may be confusing, as you can see :).


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