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Automake a case study
Automake a case study
Tue, 23 Apr 2002 00:24:59 -0600
I have a small project
Directory Structure looks like this:
/Project/ ---> Build system files go here
|______/project/ ---> C src and headers go here
|_______/docs ---> *.txt *.doc *.html
SUBDIRS = project
docsdir = $(datadir)/project/docs
docs_DATA = project/docs/*
EXTRA_DIST = project.spec INSTALL-WIN32
bin_PROGRAMS = project
project_SOURCES = *.c *.h
EXTRA_DIST = docs
I have 2 problems, first is that this works perfect for
but make distcheck and make uninstall don't...
However when running make distcheck the make install target fails for the DATA.
However thats the easy problem ( I'm pretty sure these are automake bugs )
The hard problem is that on this list and in alot of other places I keep seeing
references to "A really good book" and some other good docs on the "autotools"
I'm gonna try not to be to windy here, yet informative and enlightening...
I've been working on this project for several months now learning C as I go ONE
concept at a time....
I put those .am's together myself! BUT it took me two months. Redhat did a
great job writing that book but it's absolutely worthless. The book spends more
than half of its breath talking about libtool libraries and 2/3 of whats left
on autoconf and only lightly touches on automake. The examples for automake are
The writing style assumes too much knowledge. Alot more often now you'll be
seeing guys like me (I'm 43 have a family and full time job and come to the
unix world from the windows world and I've been computing since before IBMPC
64k 4.77mhz came out) due to the fast paced growth linux. Not the typical
Consequently a book that assumes way too much knowledge and really a program
as complicated automake, being so poorly documented, is a real roadblock for
guys like me getting involved in open-source projects.
Here are problems I found:
PRIMARIES are very briefly touched on but never fully explained
and no where is there a list of all valid PRIMARIES
For me noticing that made me wonder what else wasn't being said.
I saw references to other parts of automake commands yet no lists of valid
parts (keywords?) one specific example noinst ... If _DIST and _DATA are valid
PRIMARIES what is noinst_ ?
And this whole thing about invalid variables!!!! Never once does that book
bother to drop to the level of explaining those! But I need that level of
explanation and so do alot of other people! Add to that confusion the libtool
portion of the book replacing the dot in filenames with underscores. (I
actually understand why that's done [being only slightly versed in perl]) My
point is a well documented program wouldn't require the user to be an expert in
5 other programming languages to be able to use it and more importantly it's
documentation. And I stand back on what I infered before. I don't have the time
to learn 5 langs just to be able to use automake. And I should'nt have to.
In closing, I'm currently I'm using automake 1.6. The improvements in your
software since the version I started with, have been wonderful! Automake is
HUGHLY important to free-software (free as in freedom). However at this point
it is also one of three tools creating HUGH roadblocks for me and many others
like me from getting involved in open source projects.
Because of poor documentation...
Linux is not just the reallm of college "CS" majors anymore!
- Automake a case study,
Calvin Arndt <=