[TUHS] Happy birthday, Dennis Ritchie! [ really sun vs dec/apollo --> X and NeWS ]

arnold at skeeve.com arnold at skeeve.com
Thu Sep 14 21:11:49 AEST 2017

Rico Pajarola <rp at servium.ch> wrote:

> I also wept a bit when reading this. I once built gnome from source (don't
> ask why), on Solaris, IRIX, and HP-UX. That was also the month I learned
> how to use "autoconf" and "libtool" as swearwords...

Libtool for sure. Autoconf is something you have to come to a negotiated
truce with and then it's OK. :-)

> But on modern Linux? That's not my experience. Maybe we just have different
> standards for "just works", but a typical "modern" open source project
> nowadays "just works" (for my definition of just works) on pretty much any
> modern system including FreeBSD (type: ./configure; make && make install).

Like anything else, it depends on the quality, knowledge, and experience
of the developers.  The problem isn't really the Autotools as much as
inexperienced developers who don't understand that all the world is not
Linux and who thus feel free to assume way too many things.

We just went through the exercise of building the latest libpcap for
Linux, Solaris, AIX and HP-UX.  Nightmarish, due to dependency upon
flex, which in turn took an act of Congress in order to get it to build,
particularly on AIX, but also not so easy on the others.

OTOH, the older GNU projects, with experienced developers (gawk, Bash)
don't exhibit such issues.

My two cents (as one of those battle-scarred developers :-)


More information about the TUHS mailing list