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Re: deprecation of in-tree builds

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: deprecation of in-tree builds
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2020 08:54:31 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/68.6.0

On 3/23/20 8:32 AM, Stefan Hajnoczi wrote:

We could also make configure actively warn if used in
the source tree.

This was discussed before. I think instead of annoying people with a
warning, rather configure should be changed to create a build dir if run
from source and have a Makefile in top dir that runs make -C builddir so
people don't have to care about this or change their ways and can continue
to run configure && make from source dir but you don't have to support
in-tree build. Then you can deprecate in-tree builds but supporting only
out-of-tree without this convenience would not just unnecessarily annoy
those who prefer working in a single tree but people (and apparently some
tools) expect sources to build with usual configure; make; make install so
that should be the minimum to support.

Yes, please!  I use in-tree builds and find it tedious to cd into a
build dir manually.

Also, many build scripts (packaging, etc) we'll break if we simply
remove in-tree builds.  I think make && make install should continue to

Here's what I'm using locally to let my finger memory of building in-tree work in spite of having done 'mkdir build; cd build; ../configure ...'. We'd still need glue code in configure itself to detect when it is being invoked in-tree to create a subdir build/ and such a forwarding file, but if we want in-tree to FEEL like it works (even though it uses a build dir under the hood), it's certainly worth considering.

$ cat GNUmakefile
# Hack for redirecting while reminding myself to use distinct builddir
recurse: all
%: force
        @echo 'changing dir to build for $(MAKE) "$(MAKECMDGOALS)"...'
        @$(MAKE) -C build -f Makefile $(MAKECMDGOALS)
force: ;
.PHONY: force
GNUmakefile: ;

Eric Blake, Principal Software Engineer
Red Hat, Inc.           +1-919-301-3226
Virtualization:  qemu.org | libvirt.org

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