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Re: building groff with GNU Make and *BSD Make

From: Ingo Schwarze
Subject: Re: building groff with GNU Make and *BSD Make
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2022 16:03:15 +0200

Hi Branden,

G. Branden Robinson wrote on Tue, Mar 29, 2022 at 06:26:14AM +1100:
> At 2022-03-28T12:11:32-0700, Larry McVoy wrote:

>> Just pick one, we picked GNU make, not my favorite by any stretch but
>> it runs everywhere.  Build the makefiles for that make and call it a
>> day.

> Some people will sign a thousand EULAs before touching one copylefted
> byte.  That doesn't describe Ingo, but it does describe some of the
> people he works with.

I corrected that misconception in an earlier message.

> Not long ago, Robert Elz was carrying on over at the Austin Group
> list[1] about how he was blockaded from implementing "realpath -e" in
> NetBSD because reading GNU coreutils source code would contaminate his
> eyeballs.  The "viral" GPL would infect his eyeballs and then his brain
> and then everything he wrote for the rest of his life would be under the
> personal control of Richard M. Stallman.
> [1] Issue #1457.

Not sure which message exactly you are referring to, but i think it
doesn't matter.  If the essence of your caricaturing paraphrase more or
less matches what Robert intended to say, that would indeed be a
relatively extreme desire to adhere to a cleanroom approach.

I call it extreme because ideas cannot be Copyrighted, only text can, so
i don't fear reading glibc or coreutils code before writing my own code
from scratch.  If others want to be more cautious and apply a cleanroom
approach - shrug, let them be happy.  Then again, i rarely read glibc and
coreutils code anyway because it feels relatively hard to read to me,
typically being much more complicated than average BSD code and containing
copious amounts of #ifdef on top of that.  So black-box testing is usually
a quicker way for me to figure out what GNU code does than reading it.

Either way, i don't think cleanrooming is in any way related to the
question we are discussing here, which is whether code should be written
in portable ways where feasible.


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