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

From: K. Richard Pixley <rich_at_noir.com>
Date: 2005-05-18 00:14:37 CEST

Ben Collins-Sussman wrote:

> Anyone can create a simple standalone Makefile that will run on
> nearly every distribution of Linux. But try having that Makefile
> work on all flavors of SunOS, HP-UX, AIX, IRIX, Tru64, FreeBSD,
> NetBSD, Darwin... and work with every possible C compiler, both free
> and commercial, installed in different locations on each syste.m
> Heck, even the basic C libraries have different quirky behaviors on
> each system!

Been there, done that. See the configuration system for binutils or gdb.

> At my previous job, they refused to use autoconf, and my job *was* to
> do exactly this. Our product had to compile on 7 flavors of Unix,
> and my job was to write a Makefile / build system. It was the
> biggest nightmare ever... huge, complex, impossible to maintain.
> Contrast that against a few macro calls in configure.in: "find a C
> compiler", "does the system have X feature? how about this other
> feature?". And it *works*, because autoconf is a gigantic library of
> knowledge, a compendium of OS-specific quirks and workarounds
> gathered from thousands of programmers over many years. When you use
> it, you're standing on the shoulders of everyone's collective
> experience.

No, I'm at the mercy of a very few people's experience - namely, those
that understand the tests enough to write them and those who spend many
hours tuning the tests to fit their package.

Clearly this hasn't been done for subversion. It if had, I'd have a
working subversion right now and wouldn't even both to participate in
this discussion. As is, I can't build it out of the box, there are no
available binary packages, and so I'm stuck for a while.

Ho, hum.


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Received on Wed May 18 00:17:00 2005

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