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[bug-gnulib] Re: aux-dir name

From: Alexandre Duret-Lutz
Subject: [bug-gnulib] Re: aux-dir name
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 19:46:03 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.110003 (No Gnus v0.3) Emacs/21.3.50 (gnu/linux)

>>> "Bruno" == Bruno Haible <address@hidden> writes:

 Bruno> Hello Alexandre,

 Bruno> In your autotools.pdf you use the name 'tools' for the
 Bruno> argument of AC_CONFIG_AUX_DIR. Some other packages use
 Bruno> the name 'config' (because this directory contains
 Bruno> config.guess, config.sub, config.rpath), some others use
 Bruno> the name 'autoconf'. These names are not good, but
 Bruno> 'tools' is also a misnomer.

I too would like to find a consensual name for this directory.
I've always used tools/ in my projects, because this directory
contains helper tools for the build.

I didn't understood your point against the word "tool".
What wrong with

 Bruno> 2. (5) instrument, tool -- (the means whereby some act
 Bruno> is accomplished; "my greed was the instrument of my
 Bruno> destruction"; "science has given us new tools to fight
 Bruno> disease")


Or if you prefer a "computing" definition, see FOLDOC:

     2. A {Unix} {application program} with a simple, "transparent"
     (typically text-stream) interface designed specifically to be
     used in programmed combination with other tools (see {filter},

is it just that it is too generic?

I do agree it's too generic.  I could have called it
buildtools/ or auxtools/, but unfortunately I like short
directory names.


 Bruno> What are packages using?

 Bruno> config - used by autoconf, bison, gettext, diffutils,
 Bruno>          coreutils, make, sed, smalltalk, tar

I've disliked this name since the day I saw someone do 
   cd config
looking for configuration files to edit.  That was many years

I think it is also legitimate to imagine that someone will erase
the config/ directory before rerunning ./configure with
different options, thinking that config/ was holding the
configuration computed by ./configure.

You probably won't do this mistake twice, but the possibility to
do it once is one reason I don't want to use such an ambiguous

For me, a directory named config/ should be either related to
configure, or contain configuration file.  Presently the AUX dir
has almost nothing to do with configure (who only use a couple
of files therein).

IIRC, the people who suggested config/ a few years ago (when this
very same topic was debated, inconclusively, on
address@hidden) where people who did put both *.m4 files and
auxiliary file into the same directory.  If you do such a mix, I
can somehow understand the config/ naming (= sources for
configure, plus a couple of other files).

 Bruno> autoconf   - used by clisp, ffcall, rxvt

Could make sense in projects where all the aux scripts come from
Autoconf.  Otherwise it just brings more confusion to
unexperienced developers, who are already not able to decide
whether they should post on address@hidden or address@hidden

 Bruno> admin      - used by KDE

This sounds like /etc to me.  I expect to find administrative
files therein.

 Bruno> support    - used by bash, readline
 Bruno> scripts    - used by cpio

These sound OK to me.  They are as generic as tools/, though.
I still prefer tools/ because I'm used to it and it is shorter,
but it would be easy to convince me to switch to those.
Alexandre Duret-Lutz

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