GNU bug report logs - #13349
Could we just assume support for make recursive variable expansion unconditionally?

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Package: automake; Severity: wishlist; Reported by: Stefano Lattarini <stefano.lattarini@HIDDEN>; dated Thu, 3 Jan 2013 18:56:02 UTC; Maintainer for automake is bug-automake@HIDDEN.

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Date: Fri, 04 Jan 2013 01:17:26 +0100
From: Stefano Lattarini <stefano.lattarini@HIDDEN>
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To: Eric Blake <eblake@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#13349: Re-execute with the "correct" make implementation
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[Dropping Automake-NG]

On 01/04/2013 01:12 AM, Eric Blake wrote:
> On 01/03/2013 04:54 PM, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>>> Then again, it is autoconf that defines AC_PROG_MAKE_SET which in turn
>>> provides @SET_MAKE@ for substitution in Makefiles;
>>>
>> Right, I had forgotten about that.  I somehow just took it for granted
>> that it was all Automake's doing ...
>>
>> So, it would again be Autoconf that should implement the probe we had
>> talked about, if we decide to go down that road ...
> 
> Well, when it comes to letting MAKE be precious, AC_PROG_MAKE_SET (and
> thus autoconf) is the logical solution.  However, as for actually
> _using_ @SET_MAKE@, that is automake's lib/am/header-vars.am, so I'm
> still inclined to think that a sanity probe belongs best in Automake
> (that is, autoconf provides the tools for finding out what the user
> wants to use as $(MAKE), but automake then takes those tools to turn it
> into a proper Makefile.in with the smartest possible semantics).  In
> fact, we may decide that automake wants to invoke AC_PROG_MAKE_SET, but
> _not_ use @SET_MAKE@, by instead using its own more complete sanity
> checking code.
>
Indeed, this is all very sensible.  Yet I expounded an opposite opinion
just few minutes ago.  Clear indicator it's time to go to bed :-)

Regards,
  Stefano




Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#13349; Package automake. Full text available.

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On 01/03/2013 04:54 PM, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>> Then again, it is autoconf that defines AC_PROG_MAKE_SET which in turn=

>> provides @SET_MAKE@ for substitution in Makefiles;
>>
> Right, I had forgotten about that.  I somehow just took it for granted
> that it was all Automake's doing ...
>=20
> So, it would again be Autoconf that should implement the probe we had
> talked about, if we decide to go down that road ...

Well, when it comes to letting MAKE be precious, AC_PROG_MAKE_SET (and
thus autoconf) is the logical solution.  However, as for actually
_using_ @SET_MAKE@, that is automake's lib/am/header-vars.am, so I'm
still inclined to think that a sanity probe belongs best in Automake
(that is, autoconf provides the tools for finding out what the user
wants to use as $(MAKE), but automake then takes those tools to turn it
into a proper Makefile.in with the smartest possible semantics).  In
fact, we may decide that automake wants to invoke AC_PROG_MAKE_SET, but
_not_ use @SET_MAKE@, by instead using its own more complete sanity
checking code.

>=20
>> so maybe autoconf should be the one that lets $(MAKE) be precious
>> after all.  Does this (relatively untested) patch look like the
>> right thing to do?
>>
> Almost, but with a nit below.

>=20
>> +++ w/lib/autoconf/programs.m4
>> @@ -813,10 +813,12 @@ fi
>>  # does not run the test Makefile, we assume that the Make program the=

>> user will
>>  # invoke does set $(MAKE).  This is typical, and emitting `MAKE=3Dfoo=
make' is
>>  # always wrong if `foomake' is not available or does not work.
>> +# Calling this macro also marks $MAKE as a precious variable.
>>  AN_MAKEVAR([MAKE], [AC_PROG_MAKE_SET])
>>  AN_PROGRAM([make], [AC_PROG_MAKE_SET])
>>  AC_DEFUN([AC_PROG_MAKE_SET],
>> -[AC_MSG_CHECKING([whether ${MAKE-make} sets \$(MAKE)])
>> +[AC_ARG_VAR([MAKE], [which program will run Makefiles (default make)]=
)
>>
> It's more of a "which program you intend to use to run Makefiles", no?

Indeed.  And I'd want to add testsuite exposure, of course.  I'll take a
bit more time to play with the idea...

And that comment in the autoconf code is interesting - it implies that
there are 'make' that don't set $(MAKE), but that anyone using an
alternative ./configure MAKE=3D/better/make is probably using a better
make that DOES set $(MAKE); so maybe we can use that to our advantage in
designing a sanity check.  Again, a spy to see what implementations
still fail to set $(MAKE) may be the first prudent course of action.

--=20
Eric Blake   eblake redhat com    +1-919-301-3266
Libvirt virtualization library http://libvirt.org


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Subject: Re: bug#13349: Re-execute with the "correct" make implementation
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On 01/04/2013 12:35 AM, Bob Friesenhahn wrote:
> On Fri, 4 Jan 2013, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
> 
>> On 01/03/2013 11:53 PM, Nick Bowler wrote:
>>> On 2013-01-03 23:05 +0100, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>>>>
>>>>   TARGETS = all check clean distclean dist distcheck install uninstall
>>>>   .PHONY: $(TARGETS)
>>>>   $(TARGETS): ; @gmake $(AM_MAKEFLAGS) $@
>>>
>>> Unfortunately, this kind of wrapper doesn't work particularly well.  If
>>> the user runs something similar to:
>>>
>>>   make -j2 all install
>>>
>>> then the wrapper makefile will happily fork off two independent make
>>> instances in parallel: one running "gmake all" and one running "gmake
>>> install".  The result will probably be catastrophic.
>>>
>> Sigh, so very true.  Adding ".NOTPARALLEL:" could fix this issue though.
>> Assuming that it is portable enough ...
>>
>> At any case, the wrapper would be just a convenience for the most
>> common cases, like:
>>
>>  ./configure && make -j4 check && make install
>>
>> It doesn't have to work in all (or even most) scenarios.
> 
> This problem (use of wrong 'make') does not impact Automake-NG at
> all and it does not seem wise to create a complex solution for a
> problem which is seldom encountered and typically benign.
> 
I agree (but then, I'm biased, because I'd be the one who would have to
try to implement such a complex solution ;-)

But I think it's a fact that a simple "low-tech" solution like encouraging
developers who require GNU make (through Automake-Ng or otherwise) to use
the "GNUmakefile" name for their makefiles would probably give us 90% of
the benefits with 1% of the work.

Regards,
  Stefano





Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
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From: Stefano Lattarini <stefano.lattarini@HIDDEN>
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On 01/04/2013 12:31 AM, Eric Blake wrote:
> On 01/03/2013 03:05 PM, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>>>>>
>>>> Yeah, probably AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE should enhance the configure help message
>>>> to report the "quirky" role of $MAKE (patches welcome).
>>>
>>> I'll think about an automake patch to make it precious (at this point,
>>> I'm thinking that the use of MAKE is too closely tied to automake, and
>>> that autoconf itself has no business in setting MAKE as precious, only
>>> documenting in the generic INSTALL that MAKE is often important because
>>> of automake).
>>>
>> Yes, this seems the best approach.
> 
> Then again, it is autoconf that defines AC_PROG_MAKE_SET which in turn
> provides @SET_MAKE@ for substitution in Makefiles;
>
Right, I had forgotten about that.  I somehow just took it for granted
that it was all Automake's doing ...

So, it would again be Autoconf that should implement the probe we had
talked about, if we decide to go down that road ...

> so maybe autoconf should be the one that lets $(MAKE) be precious
> after all.  Does this (relatively untested) patch look like the
> right thing to do?
>
Almost, but with a nit below.

> diff --git i/doc/autoconf.texi w/doc/autoconf.texi
> index bb83443..67a862d 100644
> --- i/doc/autoconf.texi
> +++ w/doc/autoconf.texi
> @@ -2208,7 +2208,7 @@ Output
>  @code{$(MAKE)}, define output variable @code{SET_MAKE} to be empty.
>  Otherwise, define @code{SET_MAKE} to a macro definition that sets
>  @code{$(MAKE)}, such as @samp{MAKE=make}.  Calls @code{AC_SUBST} for
> -@code{SET_MAKE}.
> +@code{SET_MAKE}, and also calls @code{AC_ARG_VAR} for @code{MAKE}.
>  @end defmac
> 
>  If you use this macro, place a line like this in each @file{Makefile.in}
> diff --git i/lib/autoconf/programs.m4 w/lib/autoconf/programs.m4
> index f7af8b5..b6a8f78 100644
> --- i/lib/autoconf/programs.m4
> +++ w/lib/autoconf/programs.m4
> @@ -813,10 +813,12 @@ fi
>  # does not run the test Makefile, we assume that the Make program the
> user will
>  # invoke does set $(MAKE).  This is typical, and emitting `MAKE=foomake' is
>  # always wrong if `foomake' is not available or does not work.
> +# Calling this macro also marks $MAKE as a precious variable.
>  AN_MAKEVAR([MAKE], [AC_PROG_MAKE_SET])
>  AN_PROGRAM([make], [AC_PROG_MAKE_SET])
>  AC_DEFUN([AC_PROG_MAKE_SET],
> -[AC_MSG_CHECKING([whether ${MAKE-make} sets \$(MAKE)])
> +[AC_ARG_VAR([MAKE], [which program will run Makefiles (default make)])
>
It's more of a "which program you intend to use to run Makefiles", no?

Regards,
  Stefano




Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#13349; Package automake. Full text available.

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Subject: Re: bug#13349: Re-execute with the "correct" make implementation
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On 01/03/2013 11:40 PM, Eric Blake wrote:
> [dropping autoconf]
> 
> On 01/03/2013 03:05 PM, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>> For usual targets, that is easy.  I don't even think that must be done
>> at Automake-NG level; one can simply use 'GNUmakefile.am' as Automake-NG
>> input file (instead of the usual 'Makefile.am'), add 'GNUmakefile' to
>> an AC_CONFIG_FILES invocation, and then hand-write a simple Makefile
>> acting as a thin wrapper:
>>
>>   TARGETS = all check clean distclean dist distcheck install uninstall
>>   .PHONY: $(TARGETS)
>>   $(TARGETS): ; @gmake $(AM_MAKEFLAGS) $@
> 
> Is that sufficient, or will it bite users that get by with 'make check'
> but then fails when they do 'make file', where 'file:' was a specific
> rule in GNUMakefile?
>
It's only meant as a convenience for the most common cases.

Actually, now that I think about it, the best (because most correct)
convenience would be to have a makefile that simply aborts with a *clear*
*explicit* message if invoked with non-GNU make.  Something like this:

    # Default is to bail out.
    __die__:
        @echo This package requires GNU make >&2; exit 1;

    # Do so also for all the common targets.
    all check install distcheck ... : __die__

    # For Solaris make, we can die for every conceivable target.
    %: __die__

    # Ditto for BSD make and other implementations following POSIX.
    .DEFAULT:
        @echo This package requires GNU make >&2; exit 1;

I've tested the above with FreeBSD make, NetBSD make, Solaris CCS and
XPG4 make, Sun distributed make, Heirloom make, IRIX 6.5 make; it worked
in all cases.

> It's too bad we can't rely on GNU make extensions
> like $(MAKECMDGOALS) as a way to override every single target at once.
> BSD make has $(.TARGETS) as something that looks like it would do the
> same, and we might even get lucky to come up with constructs that work
> nicely in some versions of make without choking any other versions of make.
>
That sounds overkill to me, honestly.  The "abort clearly if run with
non-GNU make" workaround above seems good enough; especially considering
the serious issue brought up by Nick w.r.t. "make -j" usage.

After all, the Git build system requires GNU make, while using a 'Makefile'
rather than a 'GNUmakefile' (yikes), and yet, nobody has complained about
that until today, AFAICS.  So I think we are worrying too much IMVHO.

>> The super-nice developer can even turn this Makefile into a Makefile.in,
>> use '@GNU_MAKE@' rather than simply 'gmake', and (from configure) look
>> for a GNU make implementation in the system and AC_SUBST '@GNU_MAKE@' to
>> its absolute path.
> 
> How much of this niceness should be done by Automake-NG itself, rather
> than making developers duplicate work?
> 
I think that having an option to say "for every GNUmakefile specified
in AC_CONFIG_FILES, generate a corresponding thin-wrapper Makefile"
would be a good move.  Patches in that direction will be very welcome,
once we have agreed about what such a thin wrapper should actually do
;-)

>>> In fact, is it possible to write a
>>> Makefile that compares the encoded settings of $(MAKE) set at configure
>>> time, against the current value of $(MAKE) from the current make
>>> implementation running the makefile, and which can re-execute and/or
>>> loudly abort if there is a mismatch?
>>>
>> Loudly aborting on such a mismatch would likely be possible I think, by
>> adding something like this to the footer.am:
>>
>>     all check clean distclean dist distcheck install uninstall: am--no-make-mismatch
>>     am--no-make-mismatch:
>>         @test '$(MAKE)' = '@MAKE@' || fatal mismatch
> 
> But will that always work?  If there are any uses of GNU-make specific
> syntax earlier in the file, will a less powerful make have already
> choked on that earlier syntax before getting to this point, negating the
> usefulness of the sanity check?
> 
Good point :-/  Albeit we wouldn't be using GNU-make specific syntax, we
might be using POSIX or "almost-portable" syntax the vendor make doesn't
grok.  Well, users on such inferior systems will just have to be more
careful I guess; they had to be so until today already, so they might be
used to it ...

> I speak from personal experience of using libvirt on a BSD machine;
> libvirt has already chosen to require GNU make.  So I used ./configure
> MAKE=gmake, then every so often I type 'make' instead of 'gmake' on that
> package, and get:
> 
> $ make
> Error expanding embedded variable.
>
> as my reminder to use gmake.  But I haven't taken time to track whether
> that error would happen from just automake code in a package that tried
> to be portable to all make, or whether it specific to the fact that
> libvirt's Makefile.am already used GNU-isms.
> 
>>
>> Well, almost: currently, if the make implementation in use (as specified
>> by ${MAKE-make}) doesn't set $(MAKE) automatically, configure code generated
>> by AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE causes $(MAKE) to be explicitly defined to '@MAKE@' in
>> the generated Makefile.in (to be later subst'ed by 'config.status' in the
>> resulting Makefile).  But this probably happens only with old broken make
>> implementations (and maybe configure could start simply punting when such
>> a borked make is detected?).
> 
> Is it worth a probe to see how many 'make's in the wild still fail to
> set $(MAKE)?
>
I think so, yes.  Albeit this is pretty low-priority (patches are always
welcome though).

>> In conclusion: if this approach can be made to work, a patch would be
>> very welcome, and could go directly into 1.13.2 (as the change would not
>> be invasive in the least, and would offer more reliable build systems).
> 
> Alas, I'm busy enough with other things (such as an overdue autoconf
> release) that it probably won't be me writing such a patch.
> 
Even more importantly, you have shown above that my approach cannot be
made to work ;-)

Regards,
  Stefano




Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#13349; Package automake. Full text available.

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On Fri, 4 Jan 2013, Stefano Lattarini wrote:

> On 01/03/2013 11:53 PM, Nick Bowler wrote:
>> On 2013-01-03 23:05 +0100, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>>>
>>>   TARGETS = all check clean distclean dist distcheck install uninstall
>>>   .PHONY: $(TARGETS)
>>>   $(TARGETS): ; @gmake $(AM_MAKEFLAGS) $@
>>
>> Unfortunately, this kind of wrapper doesn't work particularly well.  If
>> the user runs something similar to:
>>
>>   make -j2 all install
>>
>> then the wrapper makefile will happily fork off two independent make
>> instances in parallel: one running "gmake all" and one running "gmake
>> install".  The result will probably be catastrophic.
>>
> Sigh, so very true.  Adding ".NOTPARALLEL:" could fix this issue though.
> Assuming that it is portable enough ...
>
> At any case, the wrapper would be just a convenience for the most
> common cases, like:
>
>  ./configure && make -j4 check && make install
>
> It doesn't have to work in all (or even most) scenarios.

This problem (use of wrong 'make') does not impact Automake-NG at all 
and it does not seem wise to create a complex solution for a problem 
which is seldom encountered and typically benign.

Bob
-- 
Bob Friesenhahn
bfriesen@HIDDEN, http://www.simplesystems.org/users/bfriesen/
GraphicsMagick Maintainer,    http://www.GraphicsMagick.org/




Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
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From: Eric Blake <eblake@HIDDEN>
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To: Stefano Lattarini <stefano.lattarini@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: Re-execute with the "correct" make implementation
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On 01/03/2013 03:05 PM, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>>>>
>>> Yeah, probably AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE should enhance the configure help mes=
sage
>>> to report the "quirky" role of $MAKE (patches welcome).
>>
>> I'll think about an automake patch to make it precious (at this point,=

>> I'm thinking that the use of MAKE is too closely tied to automake, and=

>> that autoconf itself has no business in setting MAKE as precious, only=

>> documenting in the generic INSTALL that MAKE is often important becaus=
e
>> of automake).
>>
> Yes, this seems the best approach.

Then again, it is autoconf that defines AC_PROG_MAKE_SET which in turn
provides @SET_MAKE@ for substitution in Makefiles; so maybe autoconf
should be the one that lets $(MAKE) be precious after all.  Does this
(relatively untested) patch look like the right thing to do?

diff --git i/doc/autoconf.texi w/doc/autoconf.texi
index bb83443..67a862d 100644
--- i/doc/autoconf.texi
+++ w/doc/autoconf.texi
@@ -2208,7 +2208,7 @@ Output
 @code{$(MAKE)}, define output variable @code{SET_MAKE} to be empty.
 Otherwise, define @code{SET_MAKE} to a macro definition that sets
 @code{$(MAKE)}, such as @samp{MAKE=3Dmake}.  Calls @code{AC_SUBST} for
-@code{SET_MAKE}.
+@code{SET_MAKE}, and also calls @code{AC_ARG_VAR} for @code{MAKE}.
 @end defmac

 If you use this macro, place a line like this in each @file{Makefile.in}=

diff --git i/lib/autoconf/programs.m4 w/lib/autoconf/programs.m4
index f7af8b5..b6a8f78 100644
--- i/lib/autoconf/programs.m4
+++ w/lib/autoconf/programs.m4
@@ -813,10 +813,12 @@ fi
 # does not run the test Makefile, we assume that the Make program the
user will
 # invoke does set $(MAKE).  This is typical, and emitting `MAKE=3Dfoomak=
e' is
 # always wrong if `foomake' is not available or does not work.
+# Calling this macro also marks $MAKE as a precious variable.
 AN_MAKEVAR([MAKE], [AC_PROG_MAKE_SET])
 AN_PROGRAM([make], [AC_PROG_MAKE_SET])
 AC_DEFUN([AC_PROG_MAKE_SET],
-[AC_MSG_CHECKING([whether ${MAKE-make} sets \$(MAKE)])
+[AC_ARG_VAR([MAKE], [which program will run Makefiles (default make)])
+AC_MSG_CHECKING([whether ${MAKE-make} sets \$(MAKE)])
 set x ${MAKE-make}
 ac_make=3D`AS_ECHO(["$[2]"]) | sed 's/+/p/g; s/[[^a-zA-Z0-9_]]/_/g'`
 AC_CACHE_VAL(ac_cv_prog_make_${ac_make}_set,


--=20
Eric Blake   eblake redhat com    +1-919-301-3266
Libvirt virtualization library http://libvirt.org


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From: Stefano Lattarini <stefano.lattarini@HIDDEN>
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To: Nick Bowler <nbowler@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#13349: Re-execute with the "correct" make implementation
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On 01/03/2013 11:53 PM, Nick Bowler wrote:
> On 2013-01-03 23:05 +0100, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>>
>>   TARGETS = all check clean distclean dist distcheck install uninstall
>>   .PHONY: $(TARGETS)
>>   $(TARGETS): ; @gmake $(AM_MAKEFLAGS) $@
> 
> Unfortunately, this kind of wrapper doesn't work particularly well.  If
> the user runs something similar to:
> 
>   make -j2 all install
> 
> then the wrapper makefile will happily fork off two independent make
> instances in parallel: one running "gmake all" and one running "gmake
> install".  The result will probably be catastrophic.
>
Sigh, so very true.  Adding ".NOTPARALLEL:" could fix this issue though.
Assuming that it is portable enough ...

At any case, the wrapper would be just a convenience for the most
common cases, like:

  ./configure && make -j4 check && make install

It doesn't have to work in all (or even most) scenarios.

Regards,
  Stefano





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Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2013 17:53:02 -0500
From: Nick Bowler <nbowler@HIDDEN>
To: Stefano Lattarini <stefano.lattarini@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: Re-execute with the "correct" make implementation
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On 2013-01-03 23:05 +0100, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
> On 01/03/2013 10:34 PM, Eric Blake wrote:
[...]
> > Hmm, that goes back to one of the questions we asked about Automake-NG -
> > is it possible to write a generic makefile that merely forwards all
> > requests to gmake, and where all of the real magic of Automake-NG is in
> > GNUMakefile, so that even if the user types 'make all' they still end up
> > running 'gmake all' under the hood?
> >
> For usual targets, that is easy.  I don't even think that must be done
> at Automake-NG level; one can simply use 'GNUmakefile.am' as Automake-NG
> input file (instead of the usual 'Makefile.am'), add 'GNUmakefile' to
> an AC_CONFIG_FILES invocation, and then hand-write a simple Makefile
> acting as a thin wrapper:
> 
>   TARGETS = all check clean distclean dist distcheck install uninstall
>   .PHONY: $(TARGETS)
>   $(TARGETS): ; @gmake $(AM_MAKEFLAGS) $@

Unfortunately, this kind of wrapper doesn't work particularly well.  If
the user runs something similar to:

  make -j2 all install

then the wrapper makefile will happily fork off two independent make
instances in parallel: one running "gmake all" and one running "gmake
install".  The result will probably be catastrophic.

Cheers,
-- 
Nick Bowler, Elliptic Technologies (http://www.elliptictech.com/)




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[dropping autoconf]

On 01/03/2013 03:05 PM, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
> For usual targets, that is easy.  I don't even think that must be done
> at Automake-NG level; one can simply use 'GNUmakefile.am' as Automake-N=
G
> input file (instead of the usual 'Makefile.am'), add 'GNUmakefile' to
> an AC_CONFIG_FILES invocation, and then hand-write a simple Makefile
> acting as a thin wrapper:
>=20
>   TARGETS =3D all check clean distclean dist distcheck install uninstal=
l
>   .PHONY: $(TARGETS)
>   $(TARGETS): ; @gmake $(AM_MAKEFLAGS) $@

Is that sufficient, or will it bite users that get by with 'make check'
but then fails when they do 'make file', where 'file:' was a specific
rule in GNUMakefile?  It's too bad we can't rely on GNU make extensions
like $(MAKECMDGOALS) as a way to override every single target at once.
BSD make has $(.TARGETS) as something that looks like it would do the
same, and we might even get lucky to come up with constructs that work
nicely in some versions of make without choking any other versions of mak=
e.

>=20
> The super-nice developer can even turn this Makefile into a Makefile.in=
,
> use '@GNU_MAKE@' rather than simply 'gmake', and (from configure) look
> for a GNU make implementation in the system and AC_SUBST '@GNU_MAKE@' t=
o
> its absolute path.

How much of this niceness should be done by Automake-NG itself, rather
than making developers duplicate work?

>=20
>> In fact, is it possible to write a
>> Makefile that compares the encoded settings of $(MAKE) set at configur=
e
>> time, against the current value of $(MAKE) from the current make
>> implementation running the makefile, and which can re-execute and/or
>> loudly abort if there is a mismatch?
>>
> Loudly aborting on such a mismatch would likely be possible I think, by=

> adding something like this to the footer.am:
>=20
>     all check clean distclean dist distcheck install uninstall: am--no-=
make-mismatch
>     am--no-make-mismatch:
>         @test '$(MAKE)' =3D '@MAKE@' || fatal mismatch

But will that always work?  If there are any uses of GNU-make specific
syntax earlier in the file, will a less powerful make have already
choked on that earlier syntax before getting to this point, negating the
usefulness of the sanity check?

I speak from personal experience of using libvirt on a BSD machine;
libvirt has already chosen to require GNU make.  So I used ./configure
MAKE=3Dgmake, then every so often I type 'make' instead of 'gmake' on tha=
t
package, and get:

$ make
Error expanding embedded variable.

as my reminder to use gmake.  But I haven't taken time to track whether
that error would happen from just automake code in a package that tried
to be portable to all make, or whether it specific to the fact that
libvirt's Makefile.am already used GNU-isms.

>=20
> Well, almost: currently, if the make implementation in use (as specifie=
d
> by ${MAKE-make}) doesn't set $(MAKE) automatically, configure code gene=
rated
> by AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE causes $(MAKE) to be explicitly defined to '@MAKE@'=
 in
> the generated Makefile.in (to be later subst'ed by 'config.status' in t=
he
> resulting Makefile).  But this probably happens only with old broken ma=
ke
> implementations (and maybe configure could start simply punting when su=
ch
> a borked make is detected?).

Is it worth a probe to see how many 'make's in the wild still fail to
set $(MAKE)?

>=20
> In conclusion: if this approach can be made to work, a patch would be
> very welcome, and could go directly into 1.13.2 (as the change would no=
t
> be invasive in the least, and would offer more reliable build systems).=


Alas, I'm busy enough with other things (such as an overdue autoconf
release) that it probably won't be me writing such a patch.

--=20
Eric Blake   eblake redhat com    +1-919-301-3266
Libvirt virtualization library http://libvirt.org


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Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#13349; Package automake. Full text available.

Message received at 13349 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2013 23:05:29 +0100
From: Stefano Lattarini <stefano.lattarini@HIDDEN>
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Subject: Re-execute with the "correct" make implementation
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[+cc Automake-NG]

Reference: <http://debbugs.gnu.org/cgi/bugreport.cgi?bug=13349#31>

On 01/03/2013 10:34 PM, Eric Blake wrote:
> On 01/03/2013 02:14 PM, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>>> So what's the verdict - do we (want to) support the user overriding
>>> MAKE, and therefore document that in INSTALL?
>>>
>> Indeed, we should warn the user that if he configures an Autotools-based
>> package with MAKE set in the environment (or passed on the command line),
>> that he must use that same $MAKE to build the package; if this doesn't
>> happen, semi-random (albeit unlikely) failures can crop up.
> 
> Okay, I'll whip up that autoconf patch.
>
Thanks.

>>> For that matter, should
>>> autoconf (and/or automake) mark MAKE as a precious variable, so that it
>>> gets listed in './configure --help', and so 'MAKE=gmake ./configure' has
>>> the same results as './configure MAKE=gmake'?
>>>
>> Yeah, probably AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE should enhance the configure help message
>> to report the "quirky" role of $MAKE (patches welcome).
> 
> I'll think about an automake patch to make it precious (at this point,
> I'm thinking that the use of MAKE is too closely tied to automake, and
> that autoconf itself has no business in setting MAKE as precious, only
> documenting in the generic INSTALL that MAKE is often important because
> of automake).
>
Yes, this seems the best approach.

>>  As for $MAKE
>> becoming a precious variable, it cannot certainly hurt, but is not truly
>> relevant either, since the user still has to invoke $MAKE himself, and
>> configure cannot help him there.
> 
> Hmm, that goes back to one of the questions we asked about Automake-NG -
> is it possible to write a generic makefile that merely forwards all
> requests to gmake, and where all of the real magic of Automake-NG is in
> GNUMakefile, so that even if the user types 'make all' they still end up
> running 'gmake all' under the hood?
>
For usual targets, that is easy.  I don't even think that must be done
at Automake-NG level; one can simply use 'GNUmakefile.am' as Automake-NG
input file (instead of the usual 'Makefile.am'), add 'GNUmakefile' to
an AC_CONFIG_FILES invocation, and then hand-write a simple Makefile
acting as a thin wrapper:

  TARGETS = all check clean distclean dist distcheck install uninstall
  .PHONY: $(TARGETS)
  $(TARGETS): ; @gmake $(AM_MAKEFLAGS) $@

The super-nice developer can even turn this Makefile into a Makefile.in,
use '@GNU_MAKE@' rather than simply 'gmake', and (from configure) look
for a GNU make implementation in the system and AC_SUBST '@GNU_MAKE@' to
its absolute path.

> In fact, is it possible to write a
> Makefile that compares the encoded settings of $(MAKE) set at configure
> time, against the current value of $(MAKE) from the current make
> implementation running the makefile, and which can re-execute and/or
> loudly abort if there is a mismatch?
> 
Loudly aborting on such a mismatch would likely be possible I think, by
adding something like this to the footer.am:

    all check clean distclean dist distcheck install uninstall: am--no-make-mismatch
    am--no-make-mismatch:
        @test '$(MAKE)' = '@MAKE@' || fatal mismatch

Well, almost: currently, if the make implementation in use (as specified
by ${MAKE-make}) doesn't set $(MAKE) automatically, configure code generated
by AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE causes $(MAKE) to be explicitly defined to '@MAKE@' in
the generated Makefile.in (to be later subst'ed by 'config.status' in the
resulting Makefile).  But this probably happens only with old broken make
implementations (and maybe configure could start simply punting when such
a borked make is detected?).

In conclusion: if this approach can be made to work, a patch would be
very welcome, and could go directly into 1.13.2 (as the change would not
be invasive in the least, and would offer more reliable build systems).

Thanks,
  Stefano




Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#13349; Package automake. Full text available.

Message received at 13349 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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On 01/03/2013 02:14 PM, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>> So what's the verdict - do we (want to) support the user overriding
>> MAKE, and therefore document that in INSTALL?
>>
> Indeed, we should warn the user that if he configures an Autotools-base=
d
> package with MAKE set in the environment (or passed on the command line=
),
> that he must use that same $MAKE to build the package; if this doesn't
> happen, semi-random (albeit unlikely) failures can crop up.

Okay, I'll whip up that autoconf patch.

>=20
>> For that matter, should
>> autoconf (and/or automake) mark MAKE as a precious variable, so that i=
t
>> gets listed in './configure --help', and so 'MAKE=3Dgmake ./configure'=
 has
>> the same results as './configure MAKE=3Dgmake'?
>>
> Yeah, probably AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE should enhance the configure help messa=
ge
> to report the "quirky" role of $MAKE (patches welcome).

I'll think about an automake patch to make it precious (at this point,
I'm thinking that the use of MAKE is too closely tied to automake, and
that autoconf itself has no business in setting MAKE as precious, only
documenting in the generic INSTALL that MAKE is often important because
of automake).

>  As for $MAKE
> becoming a precious variable, it cannot certainly hurt, but is not trul=
y
> relevant either, since the user still has to invoke $MAKE himself, and
> configure cannot help him there.

Hmm, that goes back to one of the questions we asked about Automake-NG -
is it possible to write a generic makefile that merely forwards all
requests to gmake, and where all of the real magic of Automake-NG is in
GNUMakefile, so that even if the user types 'make all' they still end up
running 'gmake all' under the hood?  In fact, is it possible to write a
Makefile that compares the encoded settings of $(MAKE) set at configure
time, against the current value of $(MAKE) from the current make
implementation running the makefile, and which can re-execute and/or
loudly abort if there is a mismatch?

--=20
Eric Blake   eblake redhat com    +1-919-301-3266
Libvirt virtualization library http://libvirt.org


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Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#13349; Package automake. Full text available.

Message received at 13349 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Subject: Re: bug#13349: [IMPORTANT] Could we just assuming support for make
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Hi Eric.

On 01/03/2013 09:40 PM, Eric Blake wrote:
> [adding bug-autoconf, as owner of the source that becomes the generic
> GNU INSTALL file]
> 
> On 01/03/2013 01:33 PM, Bob Friesenhahn wrote:
>> On Thu, 3 Jan 2013, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>>>>
>>>> It is a problem that MAKE is not mentioned in the standard
>>>> GNU INSTALL file, or in Automake's own INSTALL file.
>>>>
>>> The latter is not surprising, since Automake's INSTALL file is
>>> merely a copy of the generic GNU one.
>>>
>>>> If this variable was never mentioned by any instructional text,
>>>> users can't be expected to ever use it.
>>>>
>>> This makes sense?  Care to attempt a patch?  I'm not going to
>>> do it myself, I must admit.
>>
>> If Automake-dependent packages are dependent on MAKE, then it seems that
>> mention of MAKE should be added to the standard GNU INSTALL file (not
>> just Automake's copy).
>>
>> Previous to use by Automake in configure scripts, MAKE was an
>> environment variable used for internal communication from a parent make
>> process to a subordinate make process and set by make itself.
> 
> So what's the verdict - do we (want to) support the user overriding
> MAKE, and therefore document that in INSTALL?
>
Indeed, we should warn the user that if he configures an Autotools-based
package with MAKE set in the environment (or passed on the command line),
that he must use that same $MAKE to build the package; if this doesn't
happen, semi-random (albeit unlikely) failures can crop up.

> For that matter, should
> autoconf (and/or automake) mark MAKE as a precious variable, so that it
> gets listed in './configure --help', and so 'MAKE=gmake ./configure' has
> the same results as './configure MAKE=gmake'?
> 
Yeah, probably AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE should enhance the configure help message
to report the "quirky" role of $MAKE (patches welcome).  As for $MAKE
becoming a precious variable, it cannot certainly hurt, but is not truly
relevant either, since the user still has to invoke $MAKE himself, and
configure cannot help him there.

Regards,
  Stefano




Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#13349; Package automake. Full text available.

Message received at 13349 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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[adding bug-autoconf, as owner of the source that becomes the generic
GNU INSTALL file]

On 01/03/2013 01:33 PM, Bob Friesenhahn wrote:
> On Thu, 3 Jan 2013, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>>>
>>> It is a problem that MAKE is not mentioned in the standard
>>> GNU INSTALL file, or in Automake's own INSTALL file.
>>>
>> The latter is not surprising, since Automake's INSTALL file is
>> merely a copy of the generic GNU one.
>>
>>> If this variable was never mentioned by any instructional text,
>>> users can't be expected to ever use it.
>>>
>> This makes sense?  Care to attempt a patch?  I'm not going to
>> do it myself, I must admit.
>=20
> If Automake-dependent packages are dependent on MAKE, then it seems tha=
t
> mention of MAKE should be added to the standard GNU INSTALL file (not
> just Automake's copy).
>=20
> Previous to use by Automake in configure scripts, MAKE was an
> environment variable used for internal communication from a parent make=

> process to a subordinate make process and set by make itself.

So what's the verdict - do we (want to) support the user overriding
MAKE, and therefore document that in INSTALL?  For that matter, should
autoconf (and/or automake) mark MAKE as a precious variable, so that it
gets listed in './configure --help', and so 'MAKE=3Dgmake ./configure' ha=
s
the same results as './configure MAKE=3Dgmake'?

--=20
Eric Blake   eblake redhat com    +1-919-301-3266
Libvirt virtualization library http://libvirt.org


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Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#13349; Package automake. Full text available.

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On Thu, 3 Jan 2013, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>>
>> It is a problem that MAKE is not mentioned in the standard
>> GNU INSTALL file, or in Automake's own INSTALL file.
>>
> The latter is not surprising, since Automake's INSTALL file is
> merely a copy of the generic GNU one.
>
>> If this variable was never mentioned by any instructional text,
>> users can't be expected to ever use it.
>>
> This makes sense?  Care to attempt a patch?  I'm not going to
> do it myself, I must admit.

If Automake-dependent packages are dependent on MAKE, then it seems 
that mention of MAKE should be added to the standard GNU INSTALL file 
(not just Automake's copy).

Previous to use by Automake in configure scripts, MAKE was an 
environment variable used for internal communication from a parent 
make process to a subordinate make process and set by make itself.

Bob
-- 
Bob Friesenhahn
bfriesen@HIDDEN, http://www.simplesystems.org/users/bfriesen/
GraphicsMagick Maintainer,    http://www.GraphicsMagick.org/




Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#13349; Package automake. Full text available.

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On 01/03/2013 08:56 PM, Bob Friesenhahn wrote:
> On Thu, 3 Jan 2013, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>>>
>>> How would you know the make program that the user will actually use?
>>>
>> Assume it is either the default one, or that $MAKE is passed to
>> configure.  Automake-generated configure code has been doing this
>> assumption since a long time, so nothing new here (albeit the
>> situation is clearly suboptimal).
>>
>>> Some systems may have three or four 'make' type programs installed.
>>>
>> Ah, lovely Solaris :-)
> 
(About this: I was actually only joking about the confusing
/usr/ccs/bin/make vs. /usr/xpg4/bin/make "dichotomy").

> And BSD and SYSV-derived systems.  GNU/Linux is about the only
> system where 'make' is almost certain to be GNU make (and maybe
> modern OS-X).
>
Of course; but then, the BSD systems are smart enough to call a
GNU make installed from ports or pkgsrc "gmake" rather than simply
"make".  So, when I type "make" on those system, I expect to be
invoking BSD make rather than GNU make.

As for the SYSV-derived systems, if "make" does invoke the system
make, good; otherwise, the user running ./configure has GNU make
installed as his "default" make program, so the behaviour of the
system make is irrelevant for him.  If the great majority of users
of an hypothetical vendor has its "make" command pointing to GNU
make, than the  behaviour of the vendor make is to be considered
irrelevant, and that make is thus obsolete/unused in practice, no
longer worth supporting.

>> Nope, no such check from us.
>>
>> * Not in configure.  Here is how Automake-generated configure code
>>  looks for the make program (slightly tweaked for readability):
>>
>>    am_make=${MAKE-make}
>>    echo -n "checking whether $am_make supports nested variables... "
>>    if ${am_cv_make_support_nested_variables+:} false; then :
>>       echo -n "(cached) " >&6
>>    else
> 
> It seems like the above should be changed to produce an error
>
No, because if the feature is not supported, a workaround kicks in
(with graceful degradation: if nested variables cannot be used, the
make verbosity can only be set at configure runtime, rather than
also overridden at make runtime).

> and request that the user specify MAKE if support for this feature
> is important.
>
ATM, it's not really important.  It will become if we proceed with
my proposal, of course.

>> That's why I proposed, in my second point (which you have elided,
>> apparently) a runtime probe to be added to *every* configure script
>> generated from a AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE-using configure.ac:
>>
>>  - Enhance the checks in the AM_SILENT_RULES macro to print a loud
>>    message at configure runtime if the make implementation on the
>>    system isn't able to grasp recursive variable expansion, telling
>>    the user to report the situation to our upstream (bug-automake).
>>    This is of paramount importance for us to know how the situation
>>    "in the wild" really is.  In the past, Autoconf did something
>>    similar to ensure the presence of shell functions in all the
>>    shells worth supporting.
> 
> Most users ignore configure output unless configure fails.
> 
So, adjusting the roadmap:

  - a loud warning in Automake 1.13.2

  - an error in Automake 1.13.3, with a new temporary configure
    option (or environment variable?) to make it non-fatal.

  - same roadmap as before from Automake 1.14 onward.

Or even, skip the "loud warning" step and go immediately, right away
in 1.13.2, with a "fatal error that has to be explicitly quelled".

>>> If GNU make is installed on the system and called 'gmake' but
>>> the user types 'make' and 'make' does not support recursive
>>> variable expansion, what will happen?
>>>
>> Nothing, since configure does not look for gmake, but only for
>> ${MAKE-make}.  If the user exports "MAKE=gmake" and then runs
>> "make", well, he's asking for troubles -- and he'll get them.
>>
>> Hope that clarifies the matter a little.
> 
> It is a problem that MAKE is not mentioned in the standard
> GNU INSTALL file, or in Automake's own INSTALL file.
>
The latter is not surprising, since Automake's INSTALL file is
merely a copy of the generic GNU one.

> If this variable was never mentioned by any instructional text,
> users can't be expected to ever use it.
>
This makes sense?  Care to attempt a patch?  I'm not going to
do it myself, I must admit.

Thanks.
  Stefano





Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#13349; Package automake. Full text available.

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From: Bob Friesenhahn <bfriesen@HIDDEN>
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To: Stefano Lattarini <stefano.lattarini@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: [IMPORTANT] Could we just assuming support for make recursive
	variable expansion unconditionally?
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On Thu, 3 Jan 2013, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>>
>> How would you know the make program that the user will actually use?
>>
> Assume it is either the default one, or that $MAKE is passed to
> configure.  Automake-generated configure code has been doing this
> assumption since a long time, so nothing new here (albeit the
> situation is clearly suboptimal).
>
>> Some systems may have three or four 'make' type programs installed.
>>
> Ah, lovely Solaris :-)

And BSD and SYSV-derived systems.  GNU/Linux is about the only system 
where 'make' is almost certain to be GNU make (and maybe modern OS-X).

> Nope, no such check from us.
>
> * Not in configure.  Here is how Automake-generated configure code
>  looks for the make program (slightly tweaked for readability):
>
>    am_make=${MAKE-make}
>    echo -n "checking whether $am_make supports nested variables... "
>    if ${am_cv_make_support_nested_variables+:} false; then :
>       echo -n "(cached) " >&6
>    else

It seems like the above should be changed to produce an error and 
request that the user specify MAKE if support for this feature is 
important.

> That's why I proposed, in my second point (which you have elided,
> apparently) a runtime probe to be added to *every* configure script
> generated from a AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE-using configure.ac:
>
>  - Enhance the checks in the AM_SILENT_RULES macro to print a loud
>    message at configure runtime if the make implementation on the
>    system isn't able to grasp recursive variable expansion, telling
>    the user to report the situation to our upstream (bug-automake).
>    This is of paramount importance for us to know how the situation
>    "in the wild" really is.  In the past, Autoconf did something
>    similar to ensure the presence of shell functions in all the
>    shells worth supporting.

Most users ignore configure output unless configure fails.

>> If GNU make is installed on the system and called 'gmake' but
>> the user types 'make' and 'make' does not support recursive
>> variable expansion, what will happen?
>>
> Nothing, since configure does not look for gmake, but only for
> ${MAKE-make}.  If the user exports "MAKE=gmake" and then runs
> "make", well, he's asking for troubles -- and he'll get them.
>
> Hope that clarifies the matter a little.

It is a problem that MAKE is not mentioned in the standard GNU INSTALL 
file, or in Automake's own INSTALL file.  If this variable was never 
mentioned by any instructional text, users can't be expected to ever 
use it.

Bob
-- 
Bob Friesenhahn
bfriesen@HIDDEN, http://www.simplesystems.org/users/bfriesen/
GraphicsMagick Maintainer,    http://www.GraphicsMagick.org/




Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#13349; Package automake. Full text available.

Message received at submit <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Message-ID: <50E5DF1C.4050800@HIDDEN>
Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2013 20:42:20 +0100
From: Stefano Lattarini <stefano.lattarini@HIDDEN>
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: Bob Friesenhahn <bfriesen@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: [IMPORTANT] Could we just assuming support for make recursive
	variable expansion unconditionally?
References: <50E5D3F8.1090203@HIDDEN>
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Hi Bob, thanks for the prompt feedback.

On 01/03/2013 08:14 PM, Bob Friesenhahn wrote:
> On Thu, 3 Jan 2013, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>>
>> The known make implementations that does not support recursive variable
>> expansion -- as in $(foo_$(bar)) -- should by today be either very old
>> or very "fringe"; so it would be nice if, starting from Automake 1.14,
>> we could begin assuming unconditionally that this feature is supported.
> 
> This would be nice.
> 
>> Users of those old-and-poor make implementations can still download
>> and install GNU make (which, as we all know, doesn't require a
>> pre-existing make installation to be bootstrappped).
>>
>> This change would simplify our codebase a little, would reduce the
>> number of configure-time checks for the client packages (eventually,
>> at first we should still check for our intended feature, and bail
>> out loudly and with a clear error message if that is not working),
>> and also reduce the differences between mainline Automake an
>> Automake-NG.
> 
> How would you know the make program that the user will actually use?
>
Assume it is either the default one, or that $MAKE is passed to
configure.  Automake-generated configure code has been doing this
assumption since a long time, so nothing new here (albeit the
situation is clearly suboptimal).

> Some systems may have three or four 'make' type programs installed.
>
Ah, lovely Solaris :-)

>> So, here is the tentative roadmap:
>>
>> * Automake 1.13.2
>>
>>  - Add a 'spy-make-recurs-var.sh' test verifying that the make
>>    implementation used in the testsuite truly support recursive
>>    variable expansion..
> 
> I suspect that there is a configure check to find the most
> 'worthy' make program on the system (e.g. GNU make).
>
Nope, no such check from us.

* Not in configure.  Here is how Automake-generated configure code
  looks for the make program (slightly tweaked for readability):

    am_make=${MAKE-make}
    echo -n "checking whether $am_make supports nested variables... "
    if ${am_cv_make_support_nested_variables+:} false; then :
       echo -n "(cached) " >&6
    else
      ...

* Especially not in the testsuite.  In fact, to enhance coverage,
  we even go to some length to ensure non-GNU tools are preferred
  to the GNU ones!  There even is this comment in Automake's own
  'configure.ac', in the section looking for tools and programs
  to be used in the testsuite:

    # Prefer generic compilers to GNU ones when possible.  This will
    # ensure more testsuite coverage "in the wild".
    # Note that we don't look for the MSVC C/C++ compiler here.  This
    # is deliberate; for more discussion and rationale, see:
    # <http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/automake-patches/2012-01/msg00130.html>

    AC_MSG_NOTICE([will now look for generic compilers])

> This search for, and use, of the most worthy make program may foil
> this approach to detect broken make programs.
>
No such problem, in light of the above.

> Also, many/most people who install Automake from sources likely
> don't execute the test suite, especially on older slow systems
>
That's why I proposed, in my second point (which you have elided,
apparently) a runtime probe to be added to *every* configure script
generated from a AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE-using configure.ac:

  - Enhance the checks in the AM_SILENT_RULES macro to print a loud
    message at configure runtime if the make implementation on the
    system isn't able to grasp recursive variable expansion, telling
    the user to report the situation to our upstream (bug-automake).
    This is of paramount importance for us to know how the situation
    "in the wild" really is.  In the past, Autoconf did something
    similar to ensure the presence of shell functions in all the
    shells worth supporting.

> If GNU make is installed on the system and called 'gmake' but
> the user types 'make' and 'make' does not support recursive
> variable expansion, what will happen?
>
Nothing, since configure does not look for gmake, but only for
${MAKE-make}.  If the user exports "MAKE=gmake" and then runs
"make", well, he's asking for troubles -- and he'll get them.

Hope that clarifies the matter a little.

Thanks,
  Stefano




Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#13349; Package automake. Full text available.

Message received at submit <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Subject: Re: [IMPORTANT] Could we just assuming support for make recursive
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On Thu, 3 Jan 2013, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
>
> The known make implementations that does not support recursive variable
> expansion -- as in $(foo_$(bar)) -- should by today be either very old
> or very "fringe"; so it would be nice if, starting from Automake 1.14,
> we could begin assuming unconditionally that this feature is supported.

This would be nice.

> Users of those old-and-poor make implementations can still download
> and install GNU make (which, as we all know, doesn't require a
> pre-existing make installation to be bootstrappped).
>
> This change would simplify our codebase a little, would reduce the
> number of configure-time checks for the client packages (eventually,
> at first we should still check for our intended feature, and bail
> out loudly and with a clear error message if that is not working),
> and also reduce the differences between mainline Automake an
> Automake-NG.

How would you know the make program that the user will actually use? 
Some systems may have three or four 'make' type programs installed.

> So, here is the tentative roadmap:
>
> * Automake 1.13.2
>
>  - Add a 'spy-make-recurs-var.sh' test verifying that the make
>    implementation used in the testsuite truly support recursive
>    variable expansion..

I suspect that there is a configure check to find the most 'worthy' 
make program on the system (e.g. GNU make).  This search for, and use, 
of the most worthy make program may foil this approach to detect 
broken make programs.  Also, many/most people who install Automake 
from sources likely don't execute the test suite, especially on older 
slow systems (the ones most likely to have the problem) where the test 
suite would take over a day to execute.

If GNU make is installed on the system and called 'gmake' but the user 
types 'make' and 'make' does not support recursive variable expansion, 
what will happen?

Bob
-- 
Bob Friesenhahn
bfriesen@HIDDEN, http://www.simplesystems.org/users/bfriesen/
GraphicsMagick Maintainer,    http://www.GraphicsMagick.org/




Information forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#13349; Package automake. Full text available.
Changed bug title to 'Could we just assume support for make recursive variable expansion unconditionally?' from '[IMPORTANT] Could we just assuming support for make recursive variable expansion unconditionally?' Request was from Stefano Lattarini <stefano.lattarini@HIDDEN> to control <at> debbugs.gnu.org. Full text available.

Message received at submit <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2013 19:54:48 +0100
From: Stefano Lattarini <stefano.lattarini@HIDDEN>
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Subject: [IMPORTANT] Could we just assuming support for make recursive variable
	expansion unconditionally?
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Severity: wishlist

[This is posted also to the automake list to ensure a wider audience.
 Discussion should continue exclusively on the bug-automake list.]

The known make implementations that does not support recursive variable
expansion -- as in $(foo_$(bar)) -- should by today be either very old
or very "fringe"; so it would be nice if, starting from Automake 1.14,
we could begin assuming unconditionally that this feature is supported.

Users of those old-and-poor make implementations can still download
and install GNU make (which, as we all know, doesn't require a
pre-existing make installation to be bootstrappped).

This change would simplify our codebase a little, would reduce the
number of configure-time checks for the client packages (eventually,
at first we should still check for our intended feature, and bail
out loudly and with a clear error message if that is not working),
and also reduce the differences between mainline Automake an
Automake-NG.

Of course, we should first ensure that our estimate on how support for
recursive make variable expansion is effectively widespread is correct.

So, here is the tentative roadmap:

* Automake 1.13.2

  - Add a 'spy-make-recurs-var.sh' test verifying that the make
    implementation used in the testsuite truly support recursive
    variable expansion..

  - Enhance the checks in the AM_SILENT_RULES macro to print a loud
    message at configure runtime if the make implementation on the
    system isn't able to grasp recursive variable expansion, telling
    the user to report the situation to our upstream (bug-automake).
    This is of paramount importance for us to know how the situation
    "in the wild" really is.  In the past, Autoconf did something
    similar to ensure the presence of shell functions in all the
    shells worth supporting.

* Automake 1.14 (assuming no relevant complaints has been received in
  the previous "probing" step).

  - Just assume, throughout our codebase, that '$(foo_$(var))' works.
    Related simplifications and refactorings.

  - Have AM_SILENT_RULES abort configure with a fatal error if the
    make implementation on the system isn't able to grasp recursive
    variable expansion.

  - Make the 'portability-recursive' warnings a no-op, and have their
    use print a warning in either the 'obsolete' and 'unsupported'
    category.

* Automake 1.15

  - Remove all the runtime checks from AM_SILENT_RULES; the only role
    of this macro will at this point be the ability to set the
    default verbosity, and to implement the '--enable-silent-rules'
    and '--disable-silent-rules' configure options.

  - Remove the 'portability-recursive' warnings altogether.


Comments would be welcome.  Patches even more so ;-) (especially for
what concerns the changes intended for 1.13.2).




Acknowledgement sent to Stefano Lattarini <stefano.lattarini@HIDDEN>:
New bug report received and forwarded. Copy sent to bug-automake@HIDDEN. Full text available.
Report forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#13349; Package automake. Full text available.
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