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Re: GNUmakefile and 'make install'

From: Bruno Haible
Subject: Re: GNUmakefile and 'make install'
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 00:40:34 +0200
User-agent: KMail/1.5.4

Eric Blake wrote:
> I still stand by the claim that making 'make install' error out on 
> version mismatch will only affect people trying to install an unreleased 
> development snapshot who have changed the VCS tree since the last time they 
> ran 
> a full autoreconf.

It just feels wrong to me. It punishes your most loyal contributors: the
developers who want to test this or that modification and do a "make install"
for full-scale testing.

It will also punish the distributors, because nearly every distributor applies
some patch to some source files. You will force him to rebuild all the
autoconf/automake generated files, for all packages. This alone is a lot of
work. Then, consider how often he will run into the
"this file was generated for autoconf 2.xx" error, and you can imagine the
trouble into which people will be put.

The basic idea of software freedom is to allow any user/developer to make
modifications, the same way as the package maintainer does modifications. By
saying "unmodified versions install fine, modified copies give an error" you
are effectively treating users worse than you treat yourself. You then don't
need to wonder if less people contribute modifications.

Can you find other ways of solving the technical problem?


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