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

Steffen Nurpmeso steffen at sdaoden.eu
Thu Sep 14 23:21:46 AEST 2017

arnold at skeeve.com wrote:
 |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. :-)

I cannot seem to reach that state.  I see that the m4 directory of
gawk v4.1.4 contains no less than 46 files with a total of 312 KB.
On top of that the root directory contains some configure related
files which sum up to about 500 KB.
I do not know how much manual work was necessary for the files in
m4, as i never have used autotools (except for a week or so doing
something -- now obsolete -- for groff, there m4/groff.m4 is about
50 KB and handcraft).  And when i look into the missing_d of gawk
i cannot help to wonder what all that is for.

But of course, what is the alternative?  My MUA has a handcrafted
75 KB config shell script but the make system no longer could
install: on e.g. UnixWare v7.1.4 because of problems of the system
make last time i tried (we could outsource that as a shell script
and simply invoke that though), it does not work on the Solaris 9
i have access to (via OpenCSW.org) because we cannot work around
a SIZE_MAX iirc that is only defined but to nothing etc. etc. etc.

 |> 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.

Plan9 shows an impressive beauty regarding this topic, but it, of
course, is exclusive to a current Plan9.

|Der Kragenbaer,                The moon bear,
|der holt sich munter           he cheerfully and one by one
|einen nach dem anderen runter  wa.ks himself off
|(By Robert Gernhardt)

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