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two host environments

From: Yoshinori K. Okuji
Subject: two host environments
Date: Fri, 19 May 2006 21:23:45 +0200
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In the newer version of GRUB, I've beein using autoconf in a tricky way. We 
aim at building tools which run on an operating system (such as an installer) 
as well as building binary images/files which run on a boot environment (such 
as a boot sector). GRUB wants to support that the user can install a boot 
loader on a different type of system (e.g. installing GRUB for PC on 

This requires two compilers, for the tools and for the standalone binary, and 
similarly two sets of flags for the compilers. As far as I know, autoconf 
does not support this - at least not in an intuitive way. For now, I'm using 
"build" to specify the environment for the tools, and "host" to specify the 
environment for the standalone binary.

Clearly, this does not follow the convention defined by autoconf, but I don't 
know anything better. For example, the user can build GRUB twice, say, once 
for PC, and once for SparcStation. But this is redundant, since the user does 
not need the tools for PC or the standalone binary for SparcStation in the 
above case. Instead, we would like to build it only once, without building 
any unneeded binary. Suppose that GRUB does not support the bootstrap on 
SparcStation but supports running the tools on SparcStation. This is 
critical, because the user can still build GRUB successfully, even if GRUB 
does not fully support the user's environment.

Would you give us any suggestion or idea?


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