standard dependancy system

Stanislav Brabec sbrabec at
Fri Nov 23 04:45:47 PST 2007

Patryk Zawadzki wrote:

> All valid points but software is only maintained for as long as it's
> fun to do so. Adding additional requirements to software vendors is
> not the best approach until we give them tools to automatically check
> and prepare such info.

True, that is why I am thinking about modification of automake and other
tools, which developers already use.

Their additional effort might prevent typical problems: "I prepared a
nice tool, but you, bad distro vendor, compiled my nice tool with an old
version of libfoo and created a feature stripped version." But who can
guess, that "checking for ugly_function in -lfoo... yes" means, that the
script just detected too old version of libfoo.

Many developers already provide a nice configure summary: which feature
was turned off, so packager has some feedback.

This could be only a small step forward - provide an automake macros to
standardize the output and strictly discriminate between platform check
failures and optional feature check failures.

In past people started to use automake (learn complicated macros, but
easily get portable software), DESTDIR (to simplify getting all files
for packaging), discriminate between host and target (to simplify cross
compilation). Software development could still be fun.

I have not yet an exact idea, how to do it.

> As a packager I usually grep .am/.ac files for dependencies but
> practice shows that versions there are about 50-50 accurate. Then come
> distros like RedHat where often versions of packages in distro do not
> match upstream versions because of huge effort put into backporting
> downstream.

I do it as well (sometimes). But I doubt that anybody from distro
maintainers read each line of config.log for each update of each package
to verify, that all features were included.

Post-mortem analysis seems to be more accurate: You know, what failed,
but you don't know why and you don't know, what was not checked at all,
because something other failed (or even succeeded).

Best Regards / S pozdravem,

Stanislav Brabec
software developer
SUSE LINUX, s. r. o.                          e-mail: sbrabec at
Lihovarská 1060/12                            tel: +420 284 028 966
190 00 Praha 9                                fax: +420 284 028 951
Czech Republic                      

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