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Re: A question regarding stepmake

From: Devon Schudy
Subject: Re: A question regarding stepmake
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2014 01:32:22 -0400

Eric Bavier wrote:
> I'm not very familiar with the development history of lilypond, so while
> trying to sort through the lilypond build one question came to mind: why
> does lilypond use stepmake?

Because the Lilypond authors wrote it. :) According to the
documentation in ancient Lilypond commits, they intended it as a more
flexible replacement for automake, and intended it to be used for
other projects too, but it never caught on. The last version of the
file with their reasons is here:

git show release/1.2.5:stepmake/Documentation/automake.yo

I don't know automake, so I don't know how good those reasons are.

> I know buildsystems can be a touchy subject amongst programmers

AAUI Lilypond is a case of the *other* common attitude to
buildsystems: nervous incomprehension. The Contributor's Guide says
"There is wide-spread dissatisfaction with this system, and we are
considering changing. This would be a huge undertaking (estimated 200+
hours). This change will probably involve not using GNU make any more
- but a discussion about the precise build system will have to wait.
Before we reach that point, we need to figure out (at least
approximately) what the current build system does."

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