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bug#57604: Bug#1019724: warning: stray \ before - causes autopkgtest fai

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: bug#57604: Bug#1019724: warning: stray \ before - causes autopkgtest failure
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2022 13:43:22 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:91.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/91.11.0

On 9/19/22 05:32, Santiago Ruano Rincón wrote:

as you can read below, there are 4235 packages including the
warning in their build logs. Funnily, grep is also in the list :-)

Grep is on the list because Debian indirectly requires ucf to build Grep, and ucf issues the warning about stray \ because ucf mistakenly uses a Perlism in a grep regular expression <https://bugs.debian.org/1019326>. This particular warning doesn't break anything; it merely alerts installers of a screwup that happens to work but relies on undefined results.

We're thinking about adding a configure-time option to Grep to disable warnings about egrep/fgrep, to address the original Grep bug report <https://bugs.gnu.org/57604>. I'm not so sure about disabling warnings about bad escapes, as these warnings are so often a win and so rarely a loss, as is the case with ucf. Of course there is a tradeoff here between (a) having to wade through a bunch of annoying warnings, and (b) fixing packages so that they don't rely on undefined results.

Since the main issue here seems to be libtool-related test failures, how about patching libtool and letting the affected packages use the patched libtool? You can find a patch here:


The libtool test failures are false alarms, so another option would be to ignore the failures until libtool gets fixed.

For more on this thorny topic, please see:


The stray \ issue is the 19th bullet.

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