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Re: Automake testsuite misuses DejaGnu

From: Jim Meyering
Subject: Re: Automake testsuite misuses DejaGnu
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2021 22:10:57 -0700

On Sun, Jul 11, 2021 at 9:03 PM Jacob Bachmeyer <> wrote:
> I was planning to find a solution with a complete patch before
> mentioning this, but since a release is imminent I will just state the
> problem:  several tests in the Automake testsuite misuse DejaGnu and
> fail with the 1.6.3 DejaGnu release as a result.
> DejaGnu has always required a DejaGnu testsuite to be rooted at a
> "testsuite" directory and this has long been documented in the manual.
> However, prior to 1.6.3, DejaGnu did not actually depend on this
> requirement being met.  Changes during the development process to
> properly support non-recursive Automake makefiles required relying on
> this requirement to resolve the ambiguity between recursive and
> non-recursive usage.  Several tests in the Automake testsuite do not
> meet this requirement and fail if run with DejaGnu 1.6.3.
> The simple change of updating the tests to use a testsuite/ directory
> causes the tests to fail with older versions of DejaGnu, due to lack of
> support for non-recursive "make check" in those versions.  I have not
> yet tried a patch that also switches the tests to use recursive make,
> but I believe that is probably the only way for the tests to pass with
> old and new DejaGnu.
> Note that, according to the original author, Rob Savoye, DejaGnu has
> always been intended to require that testsuites be rooted at a
> "testsuite" directory and the behavior that Automake's test cases rely
> on was never supported.
> The affected tests are:  check12, dejagnu3, dejagnu4, dejagnu5,
> dejagnu6, dejagnu7, dejagnu-absolute-builddir, dejagnu-relative-srcdir,
> dejgnu-siteexp-extend, dejagnu-siteexp-useredit.
> Note that these tests do not all fail with the 1.6.3 release, but will
> all fail with some future release when the undocumented support for a
> testsuite not rooted at "testsuite" will eventually be removed.

Thank you for the analysis and heads-up.
I see that Fedora 34 currently has only dejagnu-1.6.1.
If this is something you can help with now, I can certainly wait a few days.

Even a sample fix for one of the currently-failing tests would be helpful.

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