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Re: 1,000 year backward compatability of tools

From: Charles Wilson
Subject: Re: 1,000 year backward compatability of tools
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2003 21:11:15 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.2.1) Gecko/20021130

Bruce Korb wrote:
Paul Eggert wrote:

Alex Hornby <address@hidden> writes:

On a related note, does the restriction of not using shell functions in
autoconf macros still remain,

For Autoconf itself, we still avoid shell functions.  But of course
you can use shell functions in your own macros, if you don't care
about porting to shells that lack shell functions.

Personally I'm becoming more inclined to start using shell functions.
Perhaps in Autoconf 3.

If my memory serves, GCC has finally said, "Enough with K&R already!"
but everyone is still saying, "You first."  and  "No, after you."
It's silliness. The only people squawking are the ones jealously looking out for someone who maybe might be using the stuff. Sweating
K&R-isms and copying shell text to avoid functions is a waste of
developer time.  Even if money isn't paid, there's still a big cost.
It's past time.

I think libtool went first. I submitted a patch a few months ago to help re-enable building DLLs on cygwin; that patch contained a shell function. This spawned a huge debate which meandered across the various autotool lists (this debate, I note, seems to crop up about every six months on one autotool list or another...) Eventually, the patch was accepted, and libtool (CVS HEAD) now has a shell function in it.

I think the "winning" argument was as follows:
for archaic systems whose shell does not support shfuncs, 'somebody' should create a snapshot of bash with a frozen autotool version. then, if you needed to use new autotools on that ancient system, then simply download and install the "bootstrap bash" package, and then use that.

Recall that just because NEW autotools will/may use shell functions, that doesn't retroactively break all existing packages that are already "out there". So, the poor Ultrix user will only need "bootstrap bash" if she wants to compile new software that uses new autotools -- otherwise, she's fine as is.

However, AFAIK, nobody has actually created that "bootstrap bash" package, or if they have, it has not been widely publicized.


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