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Re: [Chicken-hackers] pkg-config support in chicken-install

From: Lassi Kortela
Subject: Re: [Chicken-hackers] pkg-config support in chicken-install
Date: Thu, 18 Jul 2019 18:14:24 +0300
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I can't comment on that, I don't know enough about it, with the
exception of pkg-config related errors I darkly remmeber, but
that may have been caused by my borked setup.

It can get borked, but the key thing is that we have someone responsible (the packager who supplied the pkg-config definitions) and an actionable plan for how to fix things (ask them to fix their definitions).

If we write custom configure-style scripts and they break, we don't have any clout to blame anyone but ourselves, or any standard procedure that the upstream packager can follow to fix things for us.

it'd be very useful if the egg description lists the names of the
requisite OS packages.

Yes, but these names aren't even standardized across Linuxen, as
I've been told. A truly reliable approach sounds very much effort to
me. But, ok, one can at least try...

They are not standardized, but the situation is not as bad as it seems :) There are not that many alternative names that distributions use for a given upstream package. And our lists don't have to be complete - a partial list is still very useful in helping users find the packages. Assume that for example 50% of users have Debian or Ubuntu. Then, even if we specify only the Debian APT package names and nothing else, we can already help all of those people. And the more package names we add the more people we help.

We don't have to promise that "if you install this package from the OS package manager, your Chicken egg is 100% guaranteed to work". We can just say that "this will probably work on your operating system". If we don't have any package name for a particular OS, we can simply be silent (which is the situation we have now, so it's no worse). As a user, I appreciate such a time-saver a lot - if I don't get that advice, then I'll easily spend 30-60 minutes googling for help, and there's no guarantee that the solutions from Google results work either... So IMHO offering this imperfect help is a useful improvement for a modest cost.

I'm not completely opposed but extremely wary. And nevermind who's
implementation it is (I couldn't say) and there are no outsiders. Seeing
a prototype would be actually pretty helpful, since I have no clear idea
how this should be implemented.

That's very modest and welcoming of you :)

Thanks for considering it. I'll copy the S-expression metadata for the openssl egg and add OS package and pkg-config information to it. Then I'll write a mock-up command line program in Chicken 5 that shows what chicken-install would do given that file (i.e. calling pkg-config and showing messages if it can't find the pkg-config program or the C libraries).

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