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Re: Reducing verbosity of automake

From: Christopher S Morrison
Subject: Re: Reducing verbosity of automake
Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 04:29:58 -0700

Howdy Ralf,

I so sometimes instruct them to do that, usually when helping people 
interactively, and I get mixed results.  Some get it right and I get a 
condensed log, some actually don't and I end up spending even more time trying 
to figure out what went wrong on their end (typos, misunderstandings, 
additional questions, etc).

You can chaulk that up to "dumb users" but that's somewhat unfair in my opinion 
as there is additional complexity, albeit minimal, and hence potential for even 
careless mistakes.  Either way, it does happen from time to time and when it 
does, it ends up being more of a burden on both my end and their end.  
Personally, I'd rather the burden be on my end while still giving as much of a 
"clean build" experience to my external compiling users as possible (within the 
reason and limitations of the build system tools, of course).

Moreover, even when there is nothing at all wrong, I even appreciate and like 
the simple one-line build progress status output that you don't get during the 
two-phase silent make.  Also, users don't have to stop two makes if they want 
to abort the build -- minor detail, but annoying nonetheless (sure I can 
bootstrap a build script and abort that instead).

I'm not really complaining about the massive logs even if it might sound like 
it.  It is the safest, simplest, and most informative route given the current 
build system capabilities.  Just having seen the rather neat and organized 
output of different systems makes one yearn for improvement.

Sure my commodity Toyota build system might get me there and do a fine job at 
it reliably, but I can certainly appreciate and want the better German 
engineering features in a BMW build system too.  Turning the air conditioner 
off and rolling down the windows in the Toyota might make problems easier to 
diagnose, but people simply aren't used to that unless they're a mechanic 
regardless of what the owner's manual might dictate.  If a nice heads up 
display that neatly tells them what the problem is regardless of their usage or 
situation can be provided like found on the BMW by a AM_CC_FILTER or somesuch, 
even better. ;-)


On Thursday, May 25, 2006, at 01:59AM, Ralf Wildenhues <address@hidden> wrote:

>Hi Sean,
>* Christopher Sean Morrison wrote on Sat, May 20, 2006 at 07:26:39PM CEST:
>> Usually, the problem from a purely practical standpoint is that the  
>> error is rarely at the very end, it's somewhere probably in the last  
>> 50-200 lines or so of the output depending on the situation.  So they  
>> either send me the entire massive log (because all things being  
>> equal, that's the safest thing for me to instruct of them) or they  
>> send me only the very last 2-3 lines that say Error, which is almost  
>> always useless.
>So why don't you instruct them to send the complete output of
>  make -s LIBTOOLFLAGS=--silent || make
>which should at least increase the signal to noise ratio somewhat.

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