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Re: CHECK_STRUCTS/dmpstruct.h mechanism is broken.

From: Achim Gratz
Subject: Re: CHECK_STRUCTS/dmpstruct.h mechanism is broken.
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2019 21:55:45 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/26.1 (gnu/linux)

Paul Eggert writes:
> On 4/11/19 2:35 AM, Robert Pluim wrote:
>> Much as I dislike Autoconf, what would you have us replace it with?
> I was thinking of using just standard tools (as per the GNU Coding
> Standards) along with GNU Make - and, once the Emacs core is built, we
> can use Emacs itself. Although we started assuming GNU Make in Emacs 25,
> we haven't been using GNU Make's features fully and some of its features
> could effectively replace the need for Autoconf.

I don't see how… autoconf got one thing right: it tries to actually
_compile_, not just check preprocessor defines or compiler versions.
That also makes it slow, especially as it's all serial.

> A benefit of this approach would be faster builds. Right now the biggest
> bottleneck on my system is the time to run 'configure' whenever I make a
> trivial change to configure.ac or whatever. I *hate* that.

The fun thing is that in this case you could run autoconf almost
entirely from already cached decisions.  I have not tried to feed
autoconf prepared caches in a long time, but it may be worth a try.

> Although I looked into other possible approaches (switching to SCons,
> say) none of them seemed to offer compelling advantages to the
> more-conservative approach I have in mind.

Most of the newfangled systems I've looked at focus on build speed
(mostly by pre-computing dependencies) and take the configuration for
granted (some even using autoconf again).

> Eric Raymond reported success with this sort of approach when
> deautoconfiscating giflib and the NTP code base:
> https://lists.gnu.org/r/bison-patches/2019-02/msg00041.html

I can tell you something about NTPsec.  Yes, it has no autoconf, but
that's been replaced with the configure step from waf, which has exactly
one person you can ask if something doesn't work the way you think it
should.  Based on Python it has a somewhat more agreeable syntax than M4
macros (no surprise), but it's not actually more clear (to me anyway).
Plus, there are a lot less depencies that need to be checked.

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