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[Chicken-users] understanding the CMake build

From: Brandon J. Van Every
Subject: [Chicken-users] understanding the CMake build
Date: Fri, 08 Sep 2006 18:23:53 -0700
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20060719)

John Cowan wrote:
Brandon J. Van Every scripsit:

Actually, it does matter to us whether you or Brandon are getting burned
out: it would be a huge job to take over supporting even the CMake build
>from zero, 

Actually I don't agree.  I didn't do the "write obscure code so that I 
remain invaluable" thing, I did rather the opposite.  :-)  The CMake 
build is currently feature complete, and it's MIT licensed, so you 
simply can't start "from zero."  

It would be understanding and support that would have to start from zero,
not coding.  And FLOSSfolk have seen repeatedly that unless there's
a maintainer, people stay away from projects, because of the often
well-founded suspicion that nobody knows what's going on.

That's true.  I'm currently the only CMake expert, although I do have confidence that in time, Felix will pick up what he needs.  I wonder, why would anyone else want to understand the CMake build?  Unless they wanted to extend it, I can't think of a reason.  Even a core Chicken language developer could get by with very little understanding of the build, if they were working on an aspect of Chicken that doesn't have build-visible effects.

Turning the build into a CMake tutorial, and pushing it at Kitware via CMake-Promote, does sound like a good idea.  It would attract people who aren't really interested in Chicken, but who want to learn CMake.  It would make the build easier to understand.  Other things are needed as well though.  CMake online documentation in general is poor.  The mailing list is great, you can get all your questions rapidly answered there, but documentation is definitely a serious shortcoming.

Not that people are better off with Autotools.  It's better documented, but the whole toolchain will drive you nuts.  You still need those hunting and pecking skills, because you have to figure out whether what you want to do is an Automake thing, an Autoconf thing, a Libtool thing, or a GNU Make thing.  I crash learned Automake over the past 3 weeks, already knowing what I wanted the build to do from the CMake side, and already having an Automake build that worked but wasn't unified in the Chicken build tree.  I can't imagine getting motivated to write an Automake build from scratch!

Anyways, the reality is I don't have time for tutorializing the CMake build right now.  Nor will it be my 1st priority when I do have time.  1st priority is OpenGL and games.  Actually, those could become vectors for both CMake and Chicken promotion.  This is all very future-looking though.  Pretty much the same reason why the CMake online docs don't improve; everyone's too busy with something more important.

Brandon Van Every

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