visual studio and git

Eric Wald eswald at
Thu Nov 7 12:11:51 MST 2013

On Nov 7, Levi Pearson wrote:
> Although I agree in general that the implementation of autotools is an
> unholy mess, I just want to point out that the "user interface" for
> the developer is far simpler than the generated makefiles that ship
> with release tarballs might suggest, and it's got reasonably good
> documentation on how to use it.  If you consider the world it was
> developed in, where every UNIX-like system had vastly different sets
> of available system libraries, it provided a *huge* advantage over the
> typical manually-managed makefile. It's also pretty well-maintained,
> so if you're largely targeting POSIX systems and you can ignore the
> fact that it's implemented via a gigantic pile of M4 macros, it's
> still a good solution for writing portable/configurable code in C.

At one point I was tempted to revise or rewrite automake to emit
non-recursive makefiles[1], but quickly became daunted by the massive
amount of work involved.  I'm not sure how many of the crufty quirks,
bugfixes, workarounds, and obsolete but actively used interfaces would
need to be preserved.  On top of that, a good non-recursive make
structure is itself difficult to write, though a few people have
managed to put together solid frameworks.[2]

If I ever again delve deeply into C land, I might take up the cause in
earnest.  Building LFS with the new automake would be a decent test
case, right?


- Eric

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