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Re: [PATCH] bootstrap: add hook for altering gnulib.mk, for Bison

From: Gary V. Vaughan
Subject: Re: [PATCH] bootstrap: add hook for altering gnulib.mk, for Bison
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2010 08:21:51 +0700

Hi Paul,

On 12 Oct 2010, at 00:12, Paul Eggert wrote:
> On 10/11/10 05:28, Gary V. Vaughan wrote:
>> Ping?
> I just now looked at it, and my goodness, there are a lot of changes.
> I don't get the big picture: why are the changes being made?  Perhaps
> you could briefly discuss that?


Well, there are only 2 changes, removing the old bootstrap, and then
rewriting it from scratch as an entirely new file.

The problem was that the incumbent bootstrap is a poorly commented
accretion of ad-hoc changes accumulated as other packages have adopted
it.  There's no clear separation of concerns, and it's hard to read
it and see what's required to incorporate it into a new project.

As we (various denizens of bug-gnulib, not you and I particularly)
discussed previously, the idea of this brand new script is to be a
fully commented, fully general, easily extensible bootstrap script
to work well with existing users, and share code that is genuinely
general and useful to other packages without accreting hacks tuned
for particular packages.

As I've tweaked it to support existing users, I've found that some
of them (bison and tar, I'm looking at you!) don't even use the
canonical version... and have some bespoke changes in bootstrap itself
as well as a custom bootstrap.conf.

Also, the giant slurp() function, which I found particularly difficult
to digest, seems no longer necessary in light of the changes to gnulib
since it was written.  I was keen to modernise and decompose the
functionality to make it as easy as possible to override the parts
that don't apply to the adopting project at hand, without having to
rewrite swathes of code.

The huge docu-comment at the head of the script describes how I
envision using it.

Gary V. Vaughan (address@hidden)

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