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Re: GNU M4 1.4.13 released (stable)

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: GNU M4 1.4.13 released (stable)
Date: Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:52:36 -0600
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[adding some lists; I'm assuming you are okay with that]

According to Bob Friesenhahn on 4/1/2009 12:40 PM:
> I was able to build ok but was not sure if the right tools were being
> used in the build since I could not see what it was doing.  Then I
> remembered V=1.  I did a 'make clean' and then 'make V=1' so I could see
> what was going on.  I don't see any mention of V=1 (or the Linux style
> build change) in the INSTALL file, README, NEWS, or ChangeLog. Looking
> at the m4 code, I could not find an automake option added so perhaps
> Linux mode is the default in automake now.

I manually ran 'automake --silent-rules' as part of building the 1.4.13
package.  Future releases will have it encoded into, but for
branch-1.4, I wanted to make sure that a user could still rebuild with
older automake, rather than requiring 1.10b.  If you do indeed rerun an
older automake on the m4 1.4.13 source release, or even if you use
automake 1.10b but just rerun the bootstrap script that shipped with m4
1.4.13, you will not have silent rules.

I agree that it would have been nicer had I documented the use of 'env V=1
make' (or with GNU make, 'make V=1') in the README.  Oh well.  First bug
report against the m4 release.  I think that the coreutils 7.2 release,
which also used --silent-rules, has a similar lack of documentation.

> It seems that I will need to permanently define and export the arbitrary
> variable 'V' in my shell environment in order to avoid confusion later
> since I won't know how a build will behave until I type 'make'.  That
> leaves 25 more single-letter variables for my own use.  Hopefully it
> won't alter the behavior of other scripts or builds.

At this point, it seems like it might be a good idea for the use of
'automake --silent-rules' to add a configure option that sets the default
state of the V make variable for a user's taste.  That is, you would still
have to request automake to issue silent-rules support, but once a project
has silent rule support, the user can still have the flexibility to choose
the default verbosity level that they are comfortable with.  Something
like './configure --disable-silent-rules' to request the V=1 behavior?

> I am on the autoconf and automake lists but it seems that discussion of
> major feature additions/changes must be occuring elsewhere since the
> switch to opaque Linux style builds was only mentioned in association
> with available beta packages.

The addition of the silent-rules automake option was mentioned rather
extensively on the automake-patches list, but you are probably right in
observing that the plain automake list did not see as much commentary on it.

- --
Don't work too hard, make some time for fun as well!

Eric Blake             address@hidden
Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (Cygwin)
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