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Re: GNU Autoconf test version 2.59d available

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: GNU Autoconf test version 2.59d available
Date: Tue, 06 Jun 2006 02:22:00 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.1008 (Gnus v5.10.8) Emacs/21.4 (gnu/linux)

Ralf Corsepius <address@hidden> writes:

> => If automake doesn't hold what it promises, it's a bug in automake

At the very least there is a documentation problem in Automake,
because nowhere does it say that you can't have a test named 'test' --
a situation that caused coreutils 'make check' to fork-bomb as described in

Perhaps that problem could be worked around by changing all the
makefiles that Automake generates, so that they somehow quote every
word like "test" and "export" and etc., so that Solaris VPATH 'make'
doesn't expand them.  However it's not obvious to me how to do that
portably and reliably.  (And the resulting makefiles would be much
harder to read.)

If we can't fix the problem, we can at least document that the
Automake user can't give files names that match any of the common
shell keywords or utility names that Automake generates.  My guess is
that there would be only a few dozen reserved file names, but the list
should be documented in the Automake manual.  Also, ideally Automake
would diagnose any violations of the file naming restrictions.

>> We intend to suggest to end-users to use GNU make for
>> VPATH builds;
> If you make gmake mandatory for VPATH

The new wording isn't intended to make gmake mandatory; it is merely
intended as advice to users who are typically not experts in these
matters.  GNU make is the safest, as a rule, since it gets used the
most in practice by Autoconf and Automake users.  Other 'make'
implementations might also work, but the rules for when they work and
when they don't are too complicated to shoehorn into INSTALL.

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