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Why not fail if /usr/bin/file fails?

From: basinilya
Subject: Why not fail if /usr/bin/file fails?
Date: Sun, 5 Jul 2020 12:55:41 +0300
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/68.10.0

I'm trying to build

Libtool thinks that the installed dependency libiconv.dll.a has unknown type 
and refuses to build libunistring dll.

The libtool script calls `file` internally to detect the type, but it 
suppresses the error output which makes it hard to troubleshoot:

    func_win32_libid ()
      win32_fileres=`file -L $1 2>/dev/null`
      case $win32_fileres in

If I call `file` directly I can see the error:

    [il@arch lib]$ fakeroot file -L /usr/x86_64-w64-mingw32/lib/libiconv.dll.a
    /usr/bin/fakeroot: line 178: 962263 Bad system call         

Yet make finishes successfully and an invalid package is built.

Is there any reason to ignore non-zero exit code from external programs called 
by libtool? I don't understand.

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