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Re: Rarely rebuilt files

From: Nick Bowler
Subject: Re: Rarely rebuilt files
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2014 15:24:05 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.22 (2013-10-16)

On 2014-11-12 21:58 +0200, fr33domlover wrote:
> On 2014-11-12
> Nick Bowler <address@hidden> wrote:
> > What is probably happening is that in VPATH builds from your tarball,
> > your documentation is being rebuilt even though it was distributed.
> > This is leaving files behind in your build directory, which distcheck
> > is then complaining about.
> > 
> > Hope that helps,
> Maybe this is a problem too, but there's something before that - see the "make
> distclean" part above. I put the HTML files to be removed by "make
> maintainer-clean", which means that "make distclean" is *not supposed to 
> remove
> them* - anyway, this is what I intend. So even without the error you suggest,
> it should complain about files left in the builddir.
> Am I right?

I think there may be some confusion about what distclean is supposed to
do.  It is supposed to delete all generated files that were not part of
the original distribution.  MAINTAINERCLEANFILES is a red herring.

In a VPATH build, there is a strict separation between the distributed
files (in srcdir), and the build outputs (in builddir).  By definition,
any file that shows up in builddir in this case was not part of the
distribution (as it was created after unpacking the tarball), so
distclean must delete it.

Distcheck is complaining about this apparent discrepancy.  The usual
cause of these errors is when distributed files get erroneously rebuilt.

Since distributed files being rebuilt essentially defeats the whole
point of distributing them in the first place, this suggests a bug in
the build process.  Perhaps the distribution timestamps are not correct.

Nick Bowler, Elliptic Technologies (

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