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Old 05-01-2015, 06:29 AM   #1
Registered: Jun 2010
Location: Canada
Distribution: Slackware, systemd-garbage
Posts: 143

Rep: Reputation: 9
configure in multiple directories, dumb idea ?

Hi Everyone

Autotools is certainly powerful and widespread, no one can argue that it is not a huge success. However it has a lot of haters and as someone learning to use autotools, I can say I am not a huge fan.

You may have read "recursive make considered harmful", having a toplevel makefile calling makefiles in sub-directories is a source of controversy.

So far this thread is just troll bait, please don't troll, please keep this friendly

What I really want to ask is, if anyone has heard of splitting an autotools set up into multiple directories?

Do you think it would be too much to ask a user to call ./configure && make, 2 or 3 times in different directories and then call ./configure, make, make install in another ?

This would be really weird but it would split large and files into smaller pieces and with lots of comments it might invite more people to read them and debug them. It might avoid the recursive makefile topic too.

On the downside there could be a lot of redundancy as each configure script might end up looking for a core library that another configure script has already found.

Sorry for more troll bait but it seems to me that bugs linger for years as we report them to people, who report them to other people but the number of people that can fix them is too limited. Build systems are a source of complexity and breaking that complexity down might open the possibility that more people could pitch in and help. Asking people to call configure a bunch of times is annoying but it would also make it easy to find out where things bombed and an optional toplevel shell script could help.

This is a strange post but do you think the idea of have multiple configure scripts has any merit ?


Last edited by HalfMadDad; 05-01-2015 at 06:31 AM.
Old 05-01-2015, 07:19 AM   #2
Registered: Mar 2011
Location: USA
Distribution: MINT Debian, Angstrom, SUSE, Ubuntu, Debian
Posts: 9,883
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I write my own Makefiles. Had to look up what you meant by autotools. Yeah OK, I've always known of them and have never used them.

Maybe ask the gnu folks whether or not they have any plans? I'm sure their stuff is open source, perhaps grab hold of it and start staging your changes. Start small and then grow until you get closer to what you wish to see and then see if they'll accept, or at the very least, you'll have incremental changes to their base where you can built it your way. If they update the tools, you'll be ready to revise their next version of code unless they totally change the architecture. Doubtful they would though, probably just churning out bug fixes at this point.
Old 05-01-2015, 07:39 AM   #3
Registered: Jun 2010
Location: Canada
Distribution: Slackware, systemd-garbage
Posts: 143

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 9
Hi rtmistler

I am not smart enough to improve autotools !

I was just talking about using it in a different way.

Have a great day



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