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Re: bin/46139: irregularities in backslash handling in make

The following reply was made to PR bin/46139; it has been noted by GNATS.

From: David Laight <>
Subject: Re: bin/46139: irregularities in backslash handling in make
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2012 20:08:30 +0000

 On Sat, Mar 03, 2012 at 11:45:00PM +0000, wrote:
 > >Number:         46139
 > >Category:       bin
 > >Synopsis:       irregularities in backslash handling in make
 > As far as I can tell the string matching code is fine; the blame lies
 > with the parser, and the fact that pieces of the parser are strewn all
 > over the program.
 From my recollection the problem is that various random bits of make
 have been changed to treat '\' as an escape character.
 But it general it isn't one, and can't be allowed to be one.
 The line continuation is defined, so I suspect the \\ at end of line
 is a simple bug.
 You only have to look at the variable table when pkgsrc is running
 to see the complete fubar that attempts to escape whitespace has.
 IIRC the correct way to use characters that need escaping is to
 put them into a variable that is evaluated late enough.
 But even that is troublesome since variables are expanded recursively
 and can generate certain forms of syntax.
 David Laight:

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