automake vs. GNU make
Posted Feb 7, 2008 16:59 UTC (Thu) by vmole
In reply to: automake vs. GNU make
Parent article: LCA: Disintermediating distributions
No, my point is that problem is so complex that pretending you can hide it
with libtool is misleading. The developers have know and care that AIX and MinGW are different, and need special variations, or the end-user, trying
to build the package, has to track down the docs and figure out where to add the magic option.
You're right: I'm pretty ignorant about the internal details of autoconf et. al. But as an end user, who has 20+ years of experience building software on a wide variety of platforms, I've found that I spent a lot more time fighting autoconf/automake/libtool problems than I did for packages that asked me to uncomment the appropriate variable settings in the Makefile. Why? Because if the appropriate variable was available in the Makefile, then someone had actually, really, already built it on that platform. If not, then it was pretty easy to see what needed to be done.
I should clarify: by "autoconf problems" I don't necessarily mean problems with the autoconf system itself. It does what it's told. The problem is software developers who believe that using autoconf et. al. magically solves all their portability issues, and all they need to do is copy a few scripts/templates from some other project. This is the "autoconf culture" problem I mentioned way back in my first comment. It may not be what the autoconf developers intended or wanted, but it sure is what has happened.
That's all for me.
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