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Re: Constantly changing libtool

From: Thomas Jahns
Subject: Re: Constantly changing libtool
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2021 12:33:58 +0200
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Hi Laurence,

from what I can see, you are trying to solve an issue outside the scope autotools, which are AFAIK used in two contexts successfully:

1. users are provided a combination of source program and autotools generated files, and, unless they want to change the build system itself, have no need to worry about the autotools underpinnings but just run configure and make.

2. users receive source without autotools artifacts and are expected to run autotools at least once successfully.

Scenario 1. is obviously not helpful if people are expected to also change the build system to e.g. include new files. In scenario 2. more work than absolutely needed might be expected of users.

It seems your approach is somewhere in between: you supply autotools-generated files but expect users to also run autotools. I think you can improve outcomes by setting minimum version requirements in so the consistency of the dev environment improves but that would probably not take care of all issues with e.g. new gcc versions.

My suggestion would be to supply more than just the sources: consider handing out virtual machine images or docker containers. Doing so would enable you to keep much more under control than only the sources. Users would receive a complete environment that's almost guaranteed to produce identical results to what you prepared for lectures/hands-on sessions.

Thomas Jahns

On 4/15/21 4:41 PM, Laurence Marks wrote:
As you say, it has files generated by autotools in a cvs (anonymous), so
when checking out there is a clash.

The software is at, mainly edm
& semper-7.0beta. They are both old, not so great but I still use them
every year or so for teaching, and there are a few others who use them.
They are updated via cvs (yes, they are that old). I am updating them
currently (for a class) so they may be changing.

At least for edm most of the problems are with fftw-2.1.5 ( which is also somewhat old. (Updating
the code to use more recent fftw would be a pain.)

On Thu, Apr 15, 2021 at 9:27 AM Peter Johansson <> wrote:

Hi Laurence,

On 15/4/21 6:35 am, Bob Friesenhahn wrote:
Most problems seem to stem from packages providing the generated files
from Autoconf, Automake, and libtool so that end users don't need to
have the tools available.

It will be easier for people here to help if you provide a bit more
information about your set-up. Is the problem when building from a
tarball or when building from git/subversion? If the latter, do have you
checked in files generated by autotools into git/subversion, so when
checking out/cloning the source to a system with other autotools
versions, there becomes a clash between versions?



Thomas Jahns
Abteilung Anwendungssoftware

Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum GmbH
Bundesstraße 45a • D-20146 Hamburg • Germany

Phone:  +49 40 460094-151
Fax:    +49 40 460094-270
Email:  Thomas Jahns <>

Geschäftsführer: Prof. Dr. Thomas Ludwig
Sitz der Gesellschaft: Hamburg
Amtsgericht Hamburg HRB 39784

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