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Re: Should Autotools integrate with VCS ignore files?

From: Bob Friesenhahn
Subject: Re: Should Autotools integrate with VCS ignore files?
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2022 13:20:25 -0500 (CDT)
User-agent: Alpine 2.20 (GSO 67 2015-01-07)

On Mon, 11 Apr 2022, Горбешко Богдан wrote:

So, should Autotools be improved to detect a known VCS being used and add ignore lines for it automatically? Many modern project generators and build systems, including Meson and create-react-app, do that to some extent, but I doubt if this is actually in the scope of Autotools and follows its ideas.

The decision of which files to commit to the VCS varies project-by-project. Some projects commit all generated files, some projects commit certain types of generated files (e.g. omitting ones due to Autotools), and others avoid committing any generated content.

If Automake were to provide such a facility, it should be under control of the user and/or the project and not completely automatic. For example, there could be a Make target which produces the ignore file.

The tools would need to work given manually generated ignore content.

Generated documentation is a special class of file which needs to be considered since not all recipients of the repository will be able to deal with it. Generated documentation may depend on particular software which needs to be at a particular version or configured a particular way.

Automake produces a Makefile. I don't think Automake is specifically aware of the purpose of many of the rules which create/update files in the source tree (assuming building outside of the source tree) and sometimes it is not aware at all due to simply passing through user-provided Make fragments.

Lastly, sometimes the files from one VCS are stored within another (e.g. git in Mercurial) and the tool would need to know the file and the desired syntax (e.g. glob vs regex).

Bob Friesenhahn,
GraphicsMagick Maintainer,
Public Key,

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