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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 16:53:39 +0200

Hi Larry,

i think we agree that one syntax should be picked.
Nobody is proposing that two or more separate Makefiles
should be maintained.

The point we appear to disagree on is this:

You seem to say "Pick *any* specific program, use the full feature
set of one particular version of that specific program, and add a
hard dependency on that specific version of that specific program."

I say portability is an asset unless you have a good, specific
reason to sacrifice it, so use POSIX syntax or at least syntax
supported by all major make(1) implementatipons.  "I want to
use $< in non-suffix rules" and the like hardly qualify as good
reasons in my book.

I fear we can agree to disagree on that particular point.  I do think
portability is worth a bit of work, in general, and also results in
general cleanliness and simplicity of the code - you are aware that my
patches motivated Branden to pursue additional simplifications that,
IMHO, make the build system absolutely better without even considering
portability, right?  And that even my patches themselves did not
make the Makefiles more complicated but *only* more portable?

Besides, the sum of FreeBSD + OpenBSD + Illumos users can hardly
be classified as "very small".  Dragonfly is likely to be almost
the same as FreeBSD in this respect, i expect no specific issues
there.  I do expect that systems like Solaris and AIX might
occasionally reveal issues that the *BSDs don't, but i don't
expect those to be that much harder with respect to make(1).

Even if you insist on GNU make, other portability issues to Solaris are
likely to easily outweigh the (limited) effort that adhering to portable
make(1) might cause.


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