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Re: [PATCH] describe --local-dir option in documentation

From: Ben Pfaff
Subject: Re: [PATCH] describe --local-dir option in documentation
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2010 21:16:48 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.2 (gnu/linux)

Bruno Haible <address@hidden> writes:

>> I couldn't find a description of how or why to use --local-dir,
>> so I wrote this up.
> The original documentation of the feature was in my announcement at
> <http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-gnulib/2006-07/msg00319.html>.
> Maybe you can look to combine the contents of that text with yours?

Thanks, I hadn't known about this announcement.  I combined the

I added your name to the ChangeLog entry since a lot of the
wording is derived from yours now.

>> * doc/gnulib-tool.texi (Local changes): New section.
> IMO these explanations should go in a new chapter, "Extending Gnulib",
> positioned between "Writing modules" and "Miscellaneous Notes".
> It's important enough to be a chapter of its own, and the user first
> has to have a minimal understanding how to write modules of his own before
> he can use --local-dir.

OK, done.

>> +    * doc/gnulib-intro.texi (Openness): Add cross-reference to new
>> +    section.
> Good. Another cross-reference could be added to the intro of the
> chapter "Writing modules".


I'm appending the revised version.  What do you think?



--8<--------------------------cut here-------------------------->8--

>From 6d81a7b937aebc508f8f571c935d59b658436556 Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001
From: Ben Pfaff <address@hidden>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2010 21:13:20 -0700
Subject: [PATCH] Update 'gnulib-tool' documentation.

* doc/gnulib.texi (Writing Modules): Add cross-reference to new chapter.
(Extending Gnulib): New chapter.
* doc/gnulib-intro.texi (Openness): Add cross-reference to new chapter.
 ChangeLog             |   10 ++++++
 doc/gnulib-intro.texi |    4 +-
 doc/gnulib.texi       |   81 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++-
 3 files changed, 91 insertions(+), 4 deletions(-)

diff --git a/ChangeLog b/ChangeLog
index 40bd312..4097eb3 100644
--- a/ChangeLog
+++ b/ChangeLog
@@ -1,3 +1,13 @@
+2010-06-07  Ben Pfaff  <address@hidden>
+            Bruno Haible  <address@hidden>
+       Update 'gnulib-tool' documentation.
+       * doc/gnulib.texi (Writing Modules): Add cross-reference to new
+       chapter.
+       (Extending Gnulib): New chapter.
+       * doc/gnulib-intro.texi (Openness): Add cross-reference to new
+       chapter.
 2010-05-23  Ben Pfaff  <address@hidden>
        Update maintainer documentation for 'relocatable-prog' module.
diff --git a/doc/gnulib-intro.texi b/doc/gnulib-intro.texi
index 4cb86b8..52191ec 100644
--- a/doc/gnulib-intro.texi
+++ b/doc/gnulib-intro.texi
@@ -346,5 +346,5 @@ locally add modules that are treated like Gnulib modules by
 @end enumerate
-This is achieved by the @samp{--local-dir} option of @code{gnulib-tool}.
+This is achieved by the @samp{--local-dir} option of @code{gnulib-tool}
+(@pxref{Extending Gnulib}).
diff --git a/doc/gnulib.texi b/doc/gnulib.texi
index 4cbc9e7..5af6cd8 100644
--- a/doc/gnulib.texi
+++ b/doc/gnulib.texi
@@ -54,6 +54,7 @@ Documentation License''.
 * Introduction::
 * Invoking gnulib-tool::
 * Writing modules::
+* Extending Gnulib::
 * Miscellaneous Notes::
 * POSIX Substitutes Library::       Building as a separate substitutes library.
 * Header File Substitutes::         Overriding system headers.
@@ -117,8 +118,8 @@ Resources:
 @node Writing modules
 @chapter Writing modules
-This chapter explains how to write modules of your own, either for your own
-package (to be used with gnulib-tool's @samp{--local-dir} option), or for
+This chapter explains how to write modules of your own, either to
+extend Gnulib for your own package (@pxref{Extending Gnulib}), or for
 inclusion in gnulib proper.
 The guidelines in this chapter do not necessarily need to be followed for
@@ -608,6 +609,82 @@ before every release.
 @end enumerate
address@hidden Extending Gnulib
address@hidden Extending Gnulib
+Gnulib modules are intended to be suitable for widespread use.  Most
+problems with Gnulib can and should be fixed in a generic way, so that
+all of Gnulib's users can benefit from the change.  But occasionally a
+problem arises that is difficult or undesirable to fix generically, or
+a project that uses Gnulib may need to work around an issue before the
+Gnulib maintainers commit a final fix.  Maintainers may also want to
+add their own pools of modules to projects as Gnulib ``staging
+The obvious way to make local changes to Gnulib modules is to use
address@hidden to check out pristine modules, then to modify
+the results in-place.  This works well enough for short-lived
+experiments.  It is harder to keep modified versions of Gnulib modules
+for a long time, even though Git (or another distributed version
+control systems) can help out a lot with this during the development
+Git, however, doesn't address the distribution issue.  When a package
+``foobar'' needs a modified version of, say, @file{stdint_.h}, it
+either has to put a comment into @file{foobar/autogen.sh} saying
+``Attention! This doesn't work with a pristine Gnulib, you need this
+and that patch after checking out Gnulib,'' or it has to use the
address@hidden option and provide the modified @code{stdint}
+module in a different directory and use libtool convenience libraries.
+The @option{--local-dir} option to @command{gnulib-tool} solves this
+problem.  It allows the package to override or augment Gnulib.  This
address@hidden @bullet
+You can store files that are to override Gnulib files or modules.
+You can store context diffs to be applied to Gnulib files.
+You can add modules of your own, that are not (yet) in Gnulib.
+You can also add unstructured amounts of code to the library, by grouping
+the non-Gnulib files of the library in a single kitchen-sink ``module.''
address@hidden itemize
+In a release tarball, you can distribute the contents of this
address@hidden directory that will be combinable with newer
+versions of Gnulib, barring incompatible changes to Gnulib.
+If the @address@hidden option is specified, then
address@hidden looks in @address@hidden whenever it
+reads a file from the Gnulib directory.  Suppose @command{gnulib-tool}
+is looking for @var{file}.  Then:
address@hidden @bullet
+If @address@hidden/@var{file}} exists, then @samp{gnulib-tool} uses
+it instead of the file included in Gnulib.
+Otherwise, if @address@hidden/@var{file}.diff} exists, then
address@hidden uses the file from Gnulib after applying the diff
+using the @command{patch} program.
+Otherwise, @command{gnulib-tool} uses the file included in Gnulib.
address@hidden itemize
+Please make wise use of this option.  It also allows you to easily
+hold back modifications you make to Gnulib macros in cases it may be
+better to share them.
 @node Miscellaneous Notes
 @chapter Miscellaneous Notes

Ben Pfaff 

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