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OT: useless rant, Was: Building Subversion 1.2 on OS X 10.4 fails

From: Scott Palmer <scott.palmer_at_2connected.org>
Date: 2005-05-12 16:48:21 CEST

On May 11, 2005, at 11:10 PM, Ben Collins-Sussman wrote:

> On May 11, 2005, at 9:52 PM, Scott Palmer wrote:
>> To be honest I find the entire process of "./configure" utterly
>> ridiculous.
> Perhaps you don't remember what the world was like before autoconf
> existed? Eek.

I've been programming since the mid 80's and thankfully I never had
to deal with what you imply was a worse mess. I suspect perhaps the
problem is mostly with unix.

>> For example: It checks for things like stdlib.h - if you have a
>> C compiler that doesn't have this file you have much bigger
>> problems than compiling subversion. It checks for fortran
>> compilers - why? subversion is written in C. I could go on, but
>> the point is that the massive amount of "checking" just goes to
>> show that there is something so fundamentally wrong with the
>> entire process that it just makes me sad.
> Fundamentally wrong?

Yes. It's ludicrous, pathetically so. What part of checking for
fortran 77 to compile 'C' do you find reasonable?

When I run ./configure I shake my head and wonder "what were they
thinking?" Just what went so bad that THIS was considered the
solution? It's not so much that the solution is "fundamentally
wrong", it's the situation that leads to such a solution.

As you wrote "Subversion doesn't care about stdlib or fortran, it
just asks that a C compiler and preprocessor be present."

A C compiler is a prerequisite for compiling C code - brilliant..
let's write a tool that takes forever to scan my system (in two
stages ./autogen.sh and ./configure) to see if I have one, rather
than simply running 'make' and seeing it complain if I don't. ;-) I
can get the error message from autoconf after watching it go through
a ton of useless stuff, or I can get the error message instantly from

Strangely enough on my Mac 'cc' invokes the C complier, like it does
on every unix-ish system I've ever seen. What problem is autoconf
solving for me again?

What is fundamentally wrong is that autoconf is needed at all.

I'm obviously missing the bit that makes any of this a sane process.
And I'm quite happy to remain ignorant :-)


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Received on Thu May 12 17:14:55 2005

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