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Re: new build system (was: Re: CVS update: MODIFIED: ac-helpers ...)

From: Mark Chu-Carroll <mcc_at_watson.ibm.com>
Date: 2001-05-29 22:20:24 CEST

On 26 May 2001 22:27:38 -0400, Garance A Drosihn wrote:
> At 3:48 PM -0400 5/26/01, Greg Hudson wrote:
> >Greg Stein wrote:
> >> Yup. It is quite easy to build the one thing you're concerned
> > > with. We don't have a notion of "everything in this directory",
> > > but when you consider it: that is a bit bogus (the collection
> > > of targets in any given directory is rather arbitrary w.r.t.
> > > the desire to build something specific).
> >
> >In theory it might be bogus, but in reality directories usually
> >have a solid meaning, like "the foo library and its tests".
> >
> >The arguments for a single Makefile are valid but not even close
> >to compelling for real projects, and so a single Makefile winds
> >up being merely bizarre and different for no good reason. Having
> >to "(cd ../..; make libsvn_foo)" instead of just "make" isn't the
> >end of the world, but it will irritate people who are used to
> >doing it the normal way.
> While this is a tangent to the general subversion topics, it is
> one which is of some interest to me as I've also found automake
> and friends rather frustrating to deal with in some circumstances.
> I am generally convinced that there MUST be some way to improve
> on it, although I must admit I haven't quite figured out what
> that might be...

I actually have a suggestion here, which is going to ridiculous at
first, but I'm actually entirely serious.

Kill make.

The fundamental problem here isn't that there's a clear advantage
between recursive makefiles and big makefiles, or that there's some
basic problem in automake that we can just fix, and then the kinds
of problems that are being discussed here will disappear.

The fundamental problem is that make sucks.

I don't have a good short term solution. The long term solution is to
take a good hard look at what progress has been made in software build
tools since make was designed, and to try to build a new tool that takes
advantage of that progress in a way that lets you create a better tool
than make.

Normally I wouldn't even suggest this. But what's going on here is
that we're a group of people who've gotten together and agreed that
cvs has deep, fundamental problems that aren't going to be solved by
laying another patch over the top, but that it fundamentally needs to
be killed, and replaced with a better tool that fixes its problems.

The same thing needs to happen to make.


  "There's nothing I like better than the sound of a banjo, unless of 
   course it's the sound of a chicken caught in a vacuum cleaner. "
Mark Craig Chu-Carroll   (mcc@watson.ibm.com) 
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center  
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Received on Sat Oct 21 14:36:30 2006

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