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Re: Don't distribute auto*tools output; do distribute autoreconf input

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: Don't distribute auto*tools output; do distribute autoreconf input
Date: Thu, 10 May 2012 13:27:53 -0600
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:12.0) Gecko/20120430 Thunderbird/12.0.1

On 05/10/2012 01:14 PM, Paul Elliott wrote:
> I want the people that receive my tarball to do autoreconf. Their system's 
> autoconf-archive may be more up-to date than mine.
> What is the best way to tell automake not to distribute (i.e. put in 
> tarball), 
> all the files created by autoreconf, ./configure?

./configure must be put in the tarball (otherwise, you are _forcing_
your end users to use autoconf, but the whole point of autoconf is to
make it so that your end users can run configure without having autoconf
installed on their machine).

However, ./configure need not be stored in your VCS.  If what you are
really asking is how to avoid generated files in your VCS, so that
people developing your package (those that check out from your VCS,
rather than end users that build from your tarball) must regenerate the
files with their version of the tool, then that's a question that
depends on your choice of VCS.

Autoconf is such a project, where generated files such as ./configure
are part of the tarball but not part of the VCS.

> I especially do not want to distribute aclocal.m4 or files that contain it's 
> info. I want the build system to get up-to-date files from its 
> autoconf-archive 
> files.
> I note these files are usually distributed by default, even though no dist_ 
> statement is asking for them.
> Will it work to put the unwanted files in nodist_prog_SOURCES?
> Is there a canonical way to do this?

No, because the moment you quit distributing these files, you have
required end users to have more tools available than normally required
by the GNU Coding Standards to even be able to use your tarball.

Eric Blake   address@hidden    +1-919-301-3266
Libvirt virtualization library

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