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Re: install-sh defect?

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: install-sh defect?
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2008 20:44:51 -0600
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According to John Calcote on 4/10/2008 3:00 PM:
| Hi Eric, (,
| I've run into a possible bug in the Autoconf (2.62, and previous)
| package while I've been playing with it lately.
| 1. The manual indicates in sec 5.2, pg 39, bottom of the page (Feb 08
| 2.61 version) that autoconf ships with a version of install-sh that

I hope you meant 2.62 ;)

| you can use if you wish. I believe this to be an inaccurate statement,
| as no install-sh script actually gets installed with the autoconf
| package (at least not lately).

It's there, as autoconf-2.62/build-aux/install-sh.  You are correct that
we don't install it anywhere, because automake does a better job at that;
but by virtue of the fact that you have the autoconf package, you have
access to the script.

| 2. autoreconf --install is supposed to install missing files, or
| rather pass appropriate options to the tools that it runs to install
| missing files. This works fine with automake, which supports
| --add-missing, but autoconf has no such option to install missing
| files (even if it had one to install).

Yes, it is 'automake --add-missing' which automatically installs
install-sh, and 'autoreconf --install' relies on automake to do this.  If
you don't use automake on your project, then the installation of
install-sh is not automatic, and there is nothing autoreconf will do about

| 3. If you're setting up an Autoconf-only project (no Automake or
| Libtool), and you use the AC_PROG_INSTALL macro, then the configure
| script generated by autoconf requires install-sh to exist, but the
| Autoconf package it doesn't provide it or a way to install it if it's
| missing.

Other than copying it in by hand.  Yes, it's annoying, but so far, no one
has contributed a patch to change that.

| Furthermore, since you haven't used the AM initialization
| macros in your file, autoreconf --install won't even run
| automake --add-missing (--copy).
| Is this an oversight?

I suppose so, but not one that has bothered me enough to write a patch
(mainly because I always use automake).  What bothers me more is that we
don't have a decent way of enforcing, at 'autoconf' time, that install-sh
exists and has executable permissions; it takes 'configure' to test its
existence, and too many people have distributed packages with install-sh
accidentally lacking execute permissions; but still not to the point that
I've done anything about it.  Care to write a patch yourself?  Or maybe
you could think of autoconf's behavior as free advertising for automake ;)

- --
Don't work too hard, make some time for fun as well!

Eric Blake             address@hidden
Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (Cygwin)
Comment: Public key at
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla -


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