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Re: [RFC PATCH]: autom4te: report subsecond timestamp support in --versi

From: Jacob Bachmeyer
Subject: Re: [RFC PATCH]: autom4te: report subsecond timestamp support in --version
Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2023 18:26:51 -0600
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv: Gecko/20090807 MultiZilla/ SeaMonkey/1.1.17 Mnenhy/

Zack Weinberg wrote:
The Automake test suite wants this in order to know if it’s safe to
reduce the length of various delays for the purpose of ensuring files
in autom4te.cache are newer than the corresponding source files.

* lib/Autom4te/ Provide (but do not export) a flag
  $subsecond_mtime, indicating whether the ‘mtime’ function reports
  modification time with precision greater than one second.
  Reorganize commentary and import logic for clarity.  Add
  configuration for emacs’ perl-mode to the bottom of the file.

Now that I have seen the actual patch, yes, this test should be accurate. The test in the main autom4te script will also work, even if there is a mismatch between the script and its library, since Perl accepts a fully-qualified variable name even if that variable has never been declared; its value is undef, which is falsish in Boolean context.

* bin/ ($version): If $Autom4te::FileUtils::subsecond_mtime
  is true, add the text “ (subsecond timestamps supported)” to the
  first line of --version output.

This appears to be misaligned with the GNU Coding Standards, which states: "The first line is meant to be easy for a program to parse; the version number proper starts after the last space."

Perhaps the best option would be to conditionally add a line "This autom4te supports subsecond timestamps." after the license notice?

-- Jacob

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