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Merge autoconf-archive into gnulib?

From: Reuben Thomas
Subject: Merge autoconf-archive into gnulib?
Date: Sun, 4 Sep 2011 22:48:10 +0100

I'm a regular user of both gnulib and autoconf-archive. Using macros
from autoconf-archive is fairly straightforward, but it seems to me
they could benefit from being merged into gnulib, one ax_foo gnulib
module per ax_foo autoconf-archive macro. This would bring the
following advantages:

1. No need to find out about autoconf-archive separately from gnulib
(or indeed vice versa!).

2. Automatic import of dependencies (autoconf-archive macros would
list their dependencies on other autoconf-archive macros, which would
be satisfied by gnulib-tool --import as usual).

3. Better documentation: autoconf-archive macros' documentation would
be texinfo in the gnulib manual rather than comments in the autoconf
files. Easier to read in a variety of formats.

4. No need for the serial number mechanism in autoconf-archive (just
use the gnulib commit number, as for gnulib modules).

5. No need to commit autoconf-archive macros to my git repos.

I see one disadvantage: the gnulib maintainers might not be happy to
give all autoconf-archive maintainers commit access to gnulib. I don't
see this as a particularly bad thing: much of autoconf-archive's
maintenance is done by a few people who could be added, and it would
not hurt to have the quality of a-a jacked up a little. I know I've
made several duff commits in the past which probably wouldn't've got
past the gnulib maintainers!

I don't see initial conversion as being terribly onerous: it's a
matter of generating modules (perhaps without dependencies to start
with?) and pulling out the documentation (again, optional at first).

Licensing shouldn't be a problem: a-a macros are all GPL compatible
(many are distributed under an unrestricted license).

It would be great to be able to use autoconf-archive as easily as
gnulib, and introducing more programmers to gnulib would be a nice



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