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Re: [bug-hello] bootstrap vs. autoreconf

From: Alexandre Duret-Lutz
Subject: Re: [bug-hello] bootstrap vs. autoreconf
Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2004 00:24:00 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.1003 (Gnus v5.10.3) Emacs/21.3.50 (gnu/linux)

>>> "Karl" == Karl Berry <address@hidden> writes:

 Karl> Regarding the question of a bootstrap script.
 Karl> I think that GNU Hello (and thus by implication all GNU packages :)
 Karl> *should* provide a bootstrap script, for building out of CVS.

Exactly what I'm saying!  This bootstrap script should be called
`autoreconf'.  Having a uniform bootstrapping process for all
packages is what we have been working for over the last years by
teaching people how to stop handcrafting these scripts.  If
`autoreconf' is not enough, it needs to be fixed, so everybody
benefit from it.

 Karl> Perhaps all bootstrap will do in many cases is call
 Karl> autoreconf.  But I still think it should be provided,
 Karl> because it gives the maintainer flexibility to do other
 Karl> things:

I now I'll sound like an extremist, but I think it gives too
much flexibility.  

If you teach people to use `autoreconf' and only `autoreconf',
they will have to setup their package as appropriate for
`autoreconf' to work.  When you get such a package, you know
what to expect from it, because they all work the same

If you teach people to write bootstrap scripts they sure will
do.  And the scripts will grow.  And every package will have a
different bootstrap procedure.


 Karl> - the bootstrap script is a convenient place to warn
 Karl> people about vagaries

Wouldn't it be better to fix the vagaries so you don't have to
warn people?


 Karl> - in practice, right now I believe autoreconf cannot
 Karl> really be used with gnulib.  When I tried this for
 Karl> Texinfo, autoreconf overwrote lots of new gnulib files
 Karl> with its own older versions.

This should happen if you asked for it (with the --force option).

 Karl> So my bootstrap runs $ACLOCAL -I m4 && $AUTOHEADER &&

This is equivalent to running autoreconf.  Except that
autoreconf will call `aclocal -I m4' only if your Makefile.am
correctly sets ACLOCAL_AMFLAGS, while the above line will work
even if the Makefile.am mistakenly says nothing about it.  IOW
the above line potentially hides a bug (which is unfortunately
present in many packages).

Anyway, I see I'm not going to convince anybody, especially
since I'm repeating myself, so I better spare our time and stop
arguing about this.  Thanks God, none of you have yet retorted
that Automake does have a bootstrap script :)
Alexandre Duret-Lutz

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