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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Features command for arch

From: Robert Anderson
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Features command for arch
Date: Thu, 02 Sep 2004 19:09:26 -0500

--- Original Message ---
From: Matthieu Moy <address@hidden>
To: "Robert Anderson" <address@hidden>
CC: "David Allouche" <address@hidden>, "GNU Arch Users"
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Features command for arch

>"Robert Anderson" <address@hidden> writes:
>> I haven't really been keeping up with this discussion, but isn't
>> all of this what 'configure' and configure scripts are for?
>autoconf is an interesting hack that will allow you to deal with
>software not having the feature proposed here.

I'll give you one reason that I think "the feature proposed here"
is not likely to work out, and the 'configure' model is more than
an "interesting hack":

The number of possible questions which might be asked of a piece
of software is roughly proportional to the number of people who
would like to ask a question of it.  No matter what you think are
the "natural" questions to be asked, someone will need something
else.  Everybody might have only 3 questions, but they're going
to be 3 different questions, mostly.

Putting that burden on the author(s) of the sofware in question
simply isn't going to scale.  The burden has to be left on the
people asking the questions.

I think that's one main reason why the 'configure' model has
flourished and you mostly don't see self-aware programs that
report their own characteristics.  (where you do see that, it
tends to be a one-off, jumbled, unreliable mess.)


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