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Re: Trunk r117046 fails on systems with older automake

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Trunk r117046 fails on systems with older automake
Date: Wed, 07 May 2014 11:00:26 +0900

Glenn Morris writes:

 > I interpret this to mean that your aclocal is broken

It's not *his* aclocal, as several people have reported the same
behavior.  It's unlikely that all of these users have made the same
unfortunate change, instead it's likely that the various upstreams are
experiencing a coordination failure.

The responsibility for such coordination lies with Emacs in the end,
not with the users.

 > You need to get it working somehow, and then teach it where the
 > pkg.m4 file that pkg-config provides is installed, if it cannot
 > figure it out itself.

Oh, the irony of it all! given that autoconf and friends are supposed
to do that figuring out, and do it *portably*.[1]

More specifically, from a quick look at configure.ac, it is clear that
program does not consider pkg-config to be a hard requirement of Emacs
(and INSTALL doesn't say so, although INSTALL.REPO does).  ISTM that
configure should test for a working pkg-config, and warn the user
about breakage at that point (preferably with useful advice for a
remedy).  Blowing up in the middle of a test for an unrelated feature
that happens to use pkg-config is not user-friendly.

A review of configure (trunk updated from bzr today, I assume bzr is
still current?) suggests that Emacs should be buildable with no
pkg-config at all, you'll just be missing a pile of features.

Patches welcome, I know.  Sorry, not high on my priority list.

[1]  That's the excuse for the whole insanely complicated mess!

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