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automake 1.4 : --copy problem?

From: David Lee
Subject: automake 1.4 : --copy problem?
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 18:07:50 +0100 (BST)

Background: we are trying to "autoconfiscate" the "linux-ha" package (for
high availability work). 

With automake 1.4, I try
   automake --foreign --add-missing --copy

and get:

   automake: installing `./install-sh'
       error while copying
   automake: installing `./mkinstalldirs'
       error while copying
   automake: installing `./missing'
       error while copying

Despite these alarming-looking errors, these three copied files still end
up in place OK: repeating the same command is then OK. 

If I leave off the "--copy", so that it creates symlinks instead of copies,
it is OK:
   automake: installing `./install-sh'
   automake: installing `./mkinstalldirs'
   automake: installing `./missing'
and I end up with three symlinks, as expected.

Looking at the "automake" in my system, I see at line 6910:
   elsif (! system ('cp', $am_dir . '/' . $file, $errfile))
       $suppress = 0;
       $trailer = "\n    error while copying\n";

I suspect that the "!" should be absent (perhaps some confusion over the
opposite numeric OK/fail conventions in perl vs. UNIX return codes). 

I have the feeling this must be a very well-known problem.  Is it?  If so,
can you give me any background to it.

It is possible that we can live with the problem for the time being
(especially as work on the next version of automake is so well in hand).
But information about it would be exceedingly useful, and any reasonable
solutions would be a nice bonus.

Thanks in advance.


:  David Lee                                I.T. Service          :
:  Systems Programmer                       Computer Centre       :
:                                           University of Durham  :
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