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Re: make and backslash-newline's

From: Alfred M\. Szmidt
Subject: Re: make and backslash-newline's
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2005 10:59:49 +0100

   At this point I'm not considering backing out this change.  First,
   GNU make absolutely _IS_ an implementation of POSIX standard for
   make: you only have to read as far as the second paragraph in the
   GNU make manual:

   > GNU make conforms to section 6.2 of IEEE Standard 1003.2-1992
   > (POSIX.2).

This doesn't mean that GNU Make must follow it blindly.  Coreutils is
also conformant to POSIX, but by default it isn't POSIX compliant, you
have to set POSIXLY_CORRECT for it to behave like that, the same deal
for bash (you have to run it as `sh' to make it behave like a POSIX

Standards aside; since they have little to do with this...

Thanks for the detailed explanation, but the thing with the
backslash/newline stuff is that it breaks old Makefiles, and it makes
new Makefiles not work with old makes; it is also hard (and might make
it even more unreadable than what you have now!) to make old Makefiles
work with both a > 3.80 Make, and a <= 3.80 Make, which is why I'm
really against this kind of change.  Being forced to tell users to
`you need a new make' is quite silly in my opinion.  The thing is that
make is a end-user command, not like autoconf, which make these types
of changes a pita on the actual users.  So all the benefits will be
lost anyway, since developers will want to make their Makfiles work
with as many GNU Make versions as possible, which will force them to
jump hoops to make old code work with new versions of make.

All you arguments are very solid from a technical aspect, but I'm
arguing from a practial one; alas make is a end-user program, so these
kind of changes usually cause more harm than good. :(

Happy hacking.

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