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Re: AM_MISSING_PROG undocumented

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: AM_MISSING_PROG undocumented
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2012 13:07:13 -0600
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[adding bug-autoconf, for an autoconf documentation issue]

On 06/26/2012 11:46 AM, Eric Blake wrote:
> [adding bug-automake, to turn into a formal bug]
> On 06/26/2012 11:39 AM, Eric Blake wrote:
>> And while looking into how M4 differs from coreutils, I noticed that
>> coreutils uses this via a .m4 file included into its configure.ac:
>>   AM_MISSING_PROG(HELP2MAN, help2man)
>> which is roughly supposed to set $(HELP2MAN) to 'path/to/missing [--run]
>> help2man', depending on the version of automake used, without
>> hard-coding it as M4 had done.  Maybe M4 could use this trick instead of
>> open-coding its use of 'missing --run', but there's a flaw in that plan
>> - AM_MISSING_PROG is an undocumented macro, and I'm trying hard to keep
>> M4 using only documented interfaces.

Hmm, autoconf isn't helping matters any; autoconf.texi documents a
hard-coded use of 'missing --run':

AUTOM4TE = $(SHELL) $(srcdir)/build-aux/missing --run autom4te

in its section on how to hook in an autotest program into the 'make
check' semantics of automake.

> AM_MISSING_PROG has been around for a while (git log says it was
> introduced in 1997, although the current two-argument version appears to
> date back to commit 9ae48df in Nov 1999), and seems like something
> stable enough to be worth guaranteeing.

And if we document AM_MISSING_PROG, then autoconf should suggest using it.

Furthermore, it might be nice if automake were smarter about autotest
suites built by autoconf, as the current method for running an autotest
suite is rather verbose in Makefile.am.

Eric Blake   address@hidden    +1-919-301-3266
Libvirt virtualization library http://libvirt.org

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