[sword-devel] Autotools Bug?

Jonathan Marsden jmarsden at fastmail.fm
Mon May 11 20:13:32 MST 2009

Dmitrijs Ledkovs wrote:

> Consistency is important IMHO so you should have some very valid
> reasons if you want to break the UI for building your software.

Indeed.  More developers already know and use software with an
autotools-based build system than anything else, at least in the open
source world.

> I think it is a good choice of word to call "autogen && ./configure &&
> make && make install && make clean" UI from this point of view I hope
> the reasoning is quite obvious.

If you agree 100% with Greg that autotools is so terrible, why then
suggest a build tool use syntax that includes ./configure, which
autotools uses but several other systems do not?

The problem I have with your suggestion is only that autogen (or
autogen.sh) (or is it gnome-autogen.sh ?) is not standardized at all!
There is no even semi-formalized basis for creating such a script and
naming it anything in particular, that I know of.  This makes wiring the
set of commands into ones fingers impossible... you have to retrain
yourself for every single project -- precisely what automated build
systems are supposed to avoid!

Once you decide on using GNU autotools (which, BTW, your use of
./configure && make && make install above strongly suggests!), then
there *is* a defined way to rebuild that build system.  It is autoreconf.

If there is a large body of developers whose fingers are already trained
to do ./autogen.sh that is fine too... but I've not met them, not seen
this convention documented anywhere, and no-one in this thread has
pointed to documentation of it.

By contrast, autoreconf is documented, both in the GNU Autotools docs
and in various independent tutorials and print books about them.  And
man autoreconf works... man autogen.sh gives me nothing useful.


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