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Re: bug#13349: [IMPORTANT] Could we just assuming support for make recur

From: Stefano Lattarini
Subject: Re: bug#13349: [IMPORTANT] Could we just assuming support for make recursive variable expansion unconditionally?
Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2013 22:14:28 +0100

Hi Eric.

On 01/03/2013 09:40 PM, Eric Blake wrote:
> [adding bug-autoconf, as owner of the source that becomes the generic
> On 01/03/2013 01:33 PM, Bob Friesenhahn wrote:
>> On Thu, 3 Jan 2013, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>>>> It is a problem that MAKE is not mentioned in the standard
>>>> GNU INSTALL file, or in Automake's own INSTALL file.
>>> The latter is not surprising, since Automake's INSTALL file is
>>> merely a copy of the generic GNU one.
>>>> If this variable was never mentioned by any instructional text,
>>>> users can't be expected to ever use it.
>>> This makes sense?  Care to attempt a patch?  I'm not going to
>>> do it myself, I must admit.
>> If Automake-dependent packages are dependent on MAKE, then it seems that
>> mention of MAKE should be added to the standard GNU INSTALL file (not
>> just Automake's copy).
>> Previous to use by Automake in configure scripts, MAKE was an
>> environment variable used for internal communication from a parent make
>> process to a subordinate make process and set by make itself.
> So what's the verdict - do we (want to) support the user overriding
> MAKE, and therefore document that in INSTALL?
Indeed, we should warn the user that if he configures an Autotools-based
package with MAKE set in the environment (or passed on the command line),
that he must use that same $MAKE to build the package; if this doesn't
happen, semi-random (albeit unlikely) failures can crop up.

> For that matter, should
> autoconf (and/or automake) mark MAKE as a precious variable, so that it
> gets listed in './configure --help', and so 'MAKE=gmake ./configure' has
> the same results as './configure MAKE=gmake'?
Yeah, probably AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE should enhance the configure help message
to report the "quirky" role of $MAKE (patches welcome).  As for $MAKE
becoming a precious variable, it cannot certainly hurt, but is not truly
relevant either, since the user still has to invoke $MAKE himself, and
configure cannot help him there.


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