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Re: AC_C_LONG_DOUBLE is obsolescent.

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: AC_C_LONG_DOUBLE is obsolescent.
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2008 20:01:44 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: Loom/3.14 (

Bob Friesenhahn <bfriesen <at>> writes:

> I always assumed that the test worked as described and verified that 
> 'long double' has more range than 'double'.

In which case, it sounds like you want to use AC_TYPE_LONG_DOUBLE_WIDER instead.

> You have now used the term "modern compilers" which I assume means 
> C'99 rather than C'89?

Most C89 compilers these days provide long double at least as an extension, as 
evidenced by gnulib's support for %Lg printf replacements that compile on C89 

> Solaris 8 is the oldest version of Solaris supported by Sun, however, 
> I see no reason why Solaris 2.1 should not be able to execute current 
> autoconf.  Perhaps it might need to be augmented with a newer shell 
> and a few updated utilities.  The founding principle of autoconf is 
> "feature based testing" and I hope that this principle is not going 
> away any time soon.  I have some 10 year old systems here which are 
> still running strong and still just as useful with running their 
> respective applications as the day they were built.  If I was to 
> upgrade their OS they would no longer be useful.

Yes, autoconf will continue to run on these platforms; however, in my opinion 
at least, it is not worth the effort to try and go out of my way to fix 
problems identified on these platforms but not present on modern platforms.  In 
other words, when it comes to obsolete platforms, my attitude is 'If it works, 
great!  If it doesn't work, who cares?'  And remember, eventually we are going 
to transition autoconf into requiring shell functions; on old platforms that 
don't provide such a shell by default, you can still use autoconfiscated 
packages after some initial legwork like installing a new shell, but the 
initial investment to get your environment up to par with modern systems is on 
your shoulders and you won't get much outside help in the task.

Eric Blake

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