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bug#35848: Should automake use gmake by default if exists?

From: Nick Bowler
Subject: bug#35848: Should automake use gmake by default if exists?
Date: Tue, 21 May 2019 11:37:22 -0400

On 5/21/19, address@hidden <address@hidden> wrote:
> automake expects GNU make to support dependency tracking.
> On Solaris it works well if MAKE variable is set to gmake during the
> configuration, otherwise, it fails with the following error.
> config.status: error: Something went wrong bootstrapping makefile fragments
>      for automatic dependency tracking.  Try re-running configure with the
>      '--disable-dependency-tracking' option to at least be able to build
>      the package (albeit without support for automatic dependency
> tracking).
> See `config.log' for more details
> My suggestion is to use gmake by default if the command exists,
> otherwise fallback to make command. It could improve the overall user
> experience since the user would not need to search a solution
> (./configure MAKE=gmake) every-time this error is encountered.

I doubt this will actually help users because the user probably
won't know they need to explicitly run "gmake", and if the package
is configured with MAKE=gmake and they run plain "make" it is likely
to also fail.

The only "fancy" feature that Automake's dependency tracking should
require of the make implementation is an "include" functionality, for
example any make which implements the "include" directive from POSIX
should suffice.  I'm pretty sure Solaris make has such a function, so
I'd expect automatic dependency tracking to work with Solaris make.

If it is not working, then there might be a real bug to fix in the
dependency tracking feature in Automake.

> Note that we used automake 1.16.1 on Solaris 11.4 but the issue is also
> reproducible with older automake versions.

This doesn't sound accurate because the error you encountered does not
exist in automake versions before 1.16.  Older versions may have a
/different/ failure, of course...


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