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Re: Discrimination

From: Filippo Giunchedi
Subject: Re: Discrimination
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 2009 12:31:23 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)

On Sun, Aug 02, 2009 at 07:44:14PM +0200, Francesco Salvestrini wrote:
> >  > 3. Refactoring. There are quite a few macros whose functionality
> >  > overlap (I'm working on one of these too) and others that are very
> >  > thin wrappers, like all the acltx_prog_* and acltx_package_* macros,
> >  > which look as though they ought to be compressed into single macros,
> >  > perhaps, in the case of acltx_prog_*, a macro which knows a list of
> >  > binary names to try for each of a list of program names (associative
> >  > arrays in m4?). For acltx_package_*, it's far from obvious to me why
> >  > kpathsea is not used to find package files.
> >
> > You are right. IMHO, there are two sides to this issue that need to be
> > weighed and balanced. A macro like AX_WITH_PERL is trivial, if you know
> > about AX_WITH_PROG. However, a lot of people don't know about
> > AX_WITH_PROG. For them, AX_WITH_PERL is useful because that macro is
> > fairly easy to find.
> >
> > I feel that we can delete macros like AX_WITH_PERL (or most of the LaTeX
> > macros, for that matter), if we ensure that the underlying
> > general-purpose macros are easy to find and easy to use.
> I wouldn't agree completely even if we find a way to ease the use of base 
> macros (AX_WITH_PROG).
> There are two kind of users out there IMHO:
> 1) Those who are leveraged enough to use the macros the way they like, 
> hacking 
> and composing them without problems
> 2) The others who use autoconf with mere copy and paste, to get their task 
> done.
> Those one liners come handy in the latter case, even if they are apparently 
> of 
> scarce use for us.

I agree, we should cater for both types of users. I've started using aa mostly
like a toolbox where I can find macros ready to be used for a specific task
(e.g. expecting ax_python_devel to setting up everything for me)

> There are stupid one-liners (AX_WITH_PERL, AX_WITH_PYTHON, AX_WITH_...) and 
> less stupid one-liners (AX_LIB_CURL, AX_LIB_TAGLIB). I wrote them all for 
> different purposes (as testing framework, as replacement etc.).
> But ... do you think that all autoconf users are shell-gurus capable of 
> tracking macros error, quoting sed expression the right way, hacking macros 
> or even using autotools the right way ? I see in the #gnu IRC channel people 
> asking for aclocal/autoconf problems the whole day...

for the sake of (user's readability I would leave them even, it
doesn't seem too much of a burden

Filippo Giunchedi - - 0x6B79D401

Any problem in computer science can be solved with another layer of
indirection. But that usually will create another problem.
-- David Wheeler

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