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Re: [DRAFT PATCH 000/143] Meson integration for 5.2

From: Peter Maydell
Subject: Re: [DRAFT PATCH 000/143] Meson integration for 5.2
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2020 16:26:21 +0100

On Fri, 7 Aug 2020 at 16:14, Paolo Bonzini <pbonzini@redhat.com> wrote:
> One important difference between Make and Meson is that Meson is by
> design limited in what it can do.  The idea (which I think has served
> them well) is that they want projects to show what they need and work
> with them on how to build it.  So:
> - with Make you can do everything, it just becomes harder and harder;
> - with Meson you cannot do everything, plus you're using software that
> is opinionated and conservative in some respects with respect to its
> design decisions.  In exchange: 1) you can always propose to add
> features to the upstream project like Marc-André and I did; 2) you don't
> have to worry about the minute details of everything.

Yeah, this is what I don't like. I don't think this philosophy
of tool design is one that works well for us as a large
project that prefers to rely on the distro packaged versions
of our dependencies and build tools. It would be different
if the ecosystem we're in was one where it was really natural
to declare versioned dependencies on particular packages or
tools and have them automatically pulled in as necessary, perhaps.

For instance, I was just glancing through the Meson FAQ,
and "tell the compiler not to use RTTI for C++" is apparently
something that needed a change to Meson to support, which seems
ridiculous. This really feels like we're going to find ourselves
in the future boxed into "we're using Meson, but we also need
to do X, and Meson's opinion is 'nobody would want X', so we're
stuck". This initial attempt at conversion already got stalled
for a long time AFAIK because it took a long time to get a
feature we wanted into Meson and then for Meson to do a
release with the change in it. That seems like a bad sign to me.

-- PMM

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