Subject: Re: documentation for in-tree autoconf & wrapper
To: Patrick Welche <>
From: Blair Sadewitz <>
List: current-users
Date: 01/08/2007 14:06:42
No, we cannot simply use autoconf this way.  The big win one gets with
all the effort to use the reachover framework is elegant
The GNU autotools, in virtue of their design, implicitly assume that
the host and target are the same.  Despite the fact that you can tell
it "use my cross-tools", it will do as all too many politicians do and
act as if it is doing what you want but cannot.  How can the
autotools--which _execute_ small test programs to make critical
decisions--produce useful binaries for the target platform by running
tests on the build host?  It simply cannot.

Granted, the situation is not as bad as it could be, for it's not like
malloc() returns 0 on some NetBSD platforms and doesn't on others; and
the modular Xorg developers have created some patches to make
cross-compiling feasible.  However, I cannot comprehend how the
autotools could possibly ensure code correctness unless they're told
exactly what to do in myriad cases.  Then, if my reasoning is
correct--and it very well could [embarassingly] be totally off--we'd
have to cook up many lines of myriad configure flags for each platform
(assuming there _ARE_ even flags for everything we need, which there
may not be).  I suppose it comes down to the question of whether it
would take longer to write actual makefiles using or deal
with the autotools in the aforementioned manner.

Am I wholly off-base here?


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