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Re: [PATCH] build: do not require help2man at build-from-tarball time

From: Jim Meyering
Subject: Re: [PATCH] build: do not require help2man at build-from-tarball time
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2012 09:56:21 +0200

Jim Meyering wrote:
> Mike Frysinger wrote:
> ...
>>> I have mixed feelings.  If someone is modifying sources and expecting
>>> to be able to rebuild, they'd better have developer tools like perl.
>>> On the other hand, I dislike distributing a deliberately hamstrung
>>>, even though this wart is only in a generated file, that
>>> could easily be regenerated without the reduced dependency -- again,
>>> assuming proper tools.
>>> An added bonus of your approach: we would no longer need to distribute
>>> the man/*.1 files, and instead would generate them unconditionally, even
>>> from tarballs.
>> i think this is a step backwards.  some people think of no perl as being
>> crippled while others think of it as pointless bloat.
> Yes, this dichotomy is what I'm most leery of.
>> if the man page already exists in the dist, i don't see why we'd actively
>> replace it with a man page that is known to be significantly worse to the 
>> point
>> of uselessness.
> That would be a problem, but let's examine the conditions
> required for that to happen:
>     Someone starts from a release tarball, changes source and then wants
>     to regenerated a man/*.1 file, yet they do not have perl installed.
> One consequence of not having perl is that they are unable to run
> a significant number of tests.  While there are comparatively
> few .pl test scripts, each typically runs many more tests than
> the average .sh test script.
> Hence, I conclude that perl is already a build prerequisite for
> any packager/installer who applies patches and expects to test their
> result.  Whether it is officially listed as a build-prerequisite in
> every distro's packaging system is another matter entirely.
> This is making me think that it is almost an obligation
> (force patchers to DRTR ;-) for us to list perl as a build-time
> prerequisite...
> I'll sleep on it.

Would anyone object to making perl a build-time prerequisite?
I.e., would this cause serious inconvenience?
If you're building on a system for which you do not run all of
the perl-dependent tests, you can't be very serious about quality.

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