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Re: [RFC] Moving and libtool.m4 into Automake

From: Stefano Lattarini
Subject: Re: [RFC] Moving and libtool.m4 into Automake
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2012 12:11:06 +0200

On 10/17/2012 11:41 AM, Gary V. Vaughan wrote:
> Autotoolers,
> For quite some time now I've been thinking about simplifying Libtool,
> but I'm interested in feedback and more particularly buy-in from
> Automake maintainers before I start the work, so that I have a better
> idea of what direction I'm heading in...
> Libtool is just (a complicated) compiler wrapper, to make building and
> linking against libraries easy to specify... be that on the command
> line with a direct libtool invocation, or from
> specifications.  I'm considering splitting the current libtool project
> in two:
>   1. libltdl as a standalone runtime loader wrapper
>   2. libtool.m4/ to generate the libtool script
> I think (2) belongs better into Automake alongside the other tool
> wrappers it already carries, where it can decide whether to run the
> libtool m4 macros and roll an appropriate compiler wrapper tailored for
> the project using it (no need for all the C++/Java/Fortran goo in a C-
> only project for example).
> Another consideration is that rolling Libtool into Automake would make
> using Libtool as a standalone script rather more difficult.  Having
> said that, my impression is that Libtool is rarely used that way in
> any case, and further simplification may be possible by deliberately
> dropping explicit support for that use case.
> If I make this split and contribute the macros and to Automake,
> is this something anyone else would like?  If so, do you like it enough
> to wire it into Automake with an appropriate hunk of Perl?
> If the consensus is that Automake is not a good home for the libtool
> compiler wrapper, then I still plan to split Libtool into two projects
> as outlined above to decouple and simplify somewhat -- although I have
> some other things to attend to first, so it will not happen right away,
> but more likely after the next release.
> Thoughts? 
As I know very little about libtool, and as I'm going to have much less
time in the near future to work on automake (and I'd rather spend that
time working on Automake-NG), I'm unfortunately quite opposed to this
change, at least for the moment being.  Sorry.

Apart from those "personal" considerations, I believe Automake should
be made more easily "pluggable" rather than being bloated with yet
more stuff into its core.  Think of Autoconf: how messed up would
that be if all the macros used by Gnulib would have to be integrated
with it?  Luckily, thanks to Autoconf easy extensibility, Gnulib is
free to add all the extra checks and macros and wrapping code it needs
without having to even touch the Autoconf code.  That's the situation
I'd like have for Automake, or for Automake-NG at least.  The question
of how to get there starting from the present situation is of course
an open and difficult problem, but I still hope we could manage to
solve it (at least partially) in the future.


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