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Re: maintainer mode

From: Russ Allbery
Subject: Re: maintainer mode
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002 14:29:41 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.090005 (Oort Gnus v0.05) XEmacs/21.4 (Common Lisp, sparc-sun-solaris2.6)

Andy M Helten <address@hidden> writes:

> Without great care in aligning timestamps after each 'cvs commit' of
> and configure, for example, the next 'cvs checkout' will
> produce a distribution that requires autotools.

This and related reasons is exactly why one should never, ever, ever write
Makefile rules for generating configure and other related files.  Use a
shell script that calls the right things in the right order and have
maintainers run it when they change something, but don't *ever* put them
in Makefile dependencies.  It just breaks everything.

I say this largely as a user who compiles hundreds of packages that use
autoconf and automake.  I have *never* been helped by these Makefile
rules, and I've had them completely destroy the buildability package and
eat themselves on frequent occasions.

IMO, the "Automatic Remaking" section of the Autoconf manual should be
removed entirely to be replaced with advice on writing an "autogen" script
such as that used by many packages these days, or at least should include
very serious warnings about the severe tire damage that can result from
using those Makefile rules.

Russ Allbery (address@hidden)             <>

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