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Re: [Bug-gnulib] usefulness of acinstall (Was: Re: FYI: --help and --ver

From: Bruno Haible
Subject: Re: [Bug-gnulib] usefulness of acinstall (Was: Re: FYI: --help and --version for auxiliary scripts)
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2003 13:13:38 +0100
User-agent: KMail/1.5

Alexandre Duret-Lutz wrote:
> Jim started a thread about this recently, but it doesn't seem to
> have reached any conclusion.
>   http://mail.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-gnulib/2003-08/msg00039.html

The conclusion of this thread was that some people are against '# serial',
and some are in favour of it, limited .m4 files that are shared between
several projects and often copied around.

We were not talking about _installing_ .m4 files. Regarding the installation
of .m4 files, the current - and safe - approach is that no two packages
install the same .m4 file, and they all use $(INSTALL_DATA) directly.

In gnulib, .m4 files evolve synchronously with the corresponding .h/.c
sources. Therefore it is essential that a package uses exactly the
version of the ,m4 macro that fits with the .h/.c source. To this end the
maintainer (or gnulib-tool) copies the .m4 files into the package's local
m4/ directory, where it will shadow anything that's installed in

acinstall has a comment:

# we want to do serial-number checking; newer versions of
# macro files should always be preferred.

But this assumes that the macro file authors care about backward compatibility.
Which is not the case in practice.

So I vote for removing acinstall.


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