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Re: serial-tests option and backwards compatibility

From: Peter Johansson
Subject: Re: serial-tests option and backwards compatibility
Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2013 20:18:09 +1000
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.4; en-US; rv: Gecko/20120306 Thunderbird/3.1.20

On 2/7/13 7:58 PM, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
On 02/05/2013 12:22 AM, Peter Johansson wrote:
On 02/04/2013 11:31 PM, Stefano Lattarini wrote:

When I did this, I should really have published a 1.11.x release offering
this same option as well; that would have removed all confusion.  Sigh,
such a low-hanging fruit not picked :-(
I disagree. IMVHO micro releases should only fix bugs and not introduce new

I agree, but this wouldn't have been the case; 'serial-tests' would have
just been recognized as a no-op option (as it is in 1.12), to enhance
forward compatibility.

To recognize an new option is a feature also if the option is a no-op. Accepting an option in 1.11.6 which is not accepted in 1.11 means that those versions are not compatible. A that works with 1.11.6 might not work with 1.11.

i.e., versions within 1.11.x should be both back and forward

And it would have been so -- better than now!

No, only one way direction compatible.

The way to avoid these problems would have been to let the fruit sit
there for, say 3-5 years, and then change the default value.

Indeed (which is just what I've before admitted has been my mistake).

   2013-01-01  Release automake 1.13.1 (parallel tests now default)

This isn't the only backwards incompatible change made recently,
and in my humble opinion I think the timeframes introducing
backwards incompatibility are too aggressive.

You are not the only one to think so, and I've come to agree (at least
partially); for some more discussions and background, see:


So things should proceed more carefully in the future (I hope).
In hindsight, I'm surprised no one objected to your aggressive changes.

   From a backwards-compatibility point of view, I think the default
should be reverted to serial tests, and make it clearer that
parallel tests are available as an option.

With this I must disagree, sorry.
I agree with your disagreement ;) flip-flopping back and forth would
cause complete confusion and chaos. It would, however, be useful to
  document a workaround (perhaps in FAQ)

I fear we don't have FAQs;

Sorry, must have confused with Autoconf manual.


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