[asterisk-dev] Question (and offer) re autotools (autoconf/automake)

Luigi Rizzo rizzo at icir.org
Tue Feb 14 11:22:21 MST 2006

On Tue, Feb 14, 2006 at 10:05:24AM -0700, Charl Coetzee wrote:
> I am wondering if there are any particular opinions out there arguing 
> *against* using autotools for building Asterisk.  Any compelling reasons 

speaking for myself, i suppose the reason is the lack of competence.
using the auto*tools is difficult, and coming up with something that
works only on one platform or two and randomly breaks every time you
add a line or two is worse than not using them.

Just as a data point (and hope noone gets offended, as i myself am
completely ignorant on the autotools and couldn't do any better)
the following is the original configure.ac from openpbx available
at svn://svn.openpbx.org/openpbx/trunk

	> wc configure.ac
	    1962    4213   68234 configure.ac

i hope eveybody realizes that if a manually generated
template reaches 2k lines, there must be something wrong
in the way it has been generated.
Oh, last i tried it did not produce a working configure
for freebsd, and despite my numerous requests on their
lists, nobody came up with suggestions to fix it
(by "fix" i mean trim it to a reasonable size.
Unlike other stuff, Asterisk/openpbx
are indeed using very few external libraries/toolkits/etc
so i would expect the compatibility checks to be limited,
resulting in a reasonably small configure.ac)

At least we know how to manage the makefiles we have for the build.

> We're corporately considering "translating" the current Asterisk 
> makefiles to autotools, and  contributing this back to the community. 
> (In fact I already have tacit approval for this).

once again speaking for myself, usually these things are judged by the result.
I suspect that if you come out with a reasonably small config that works
on multiple platforms and is readable and maintainable, people
may accept or use it. If, on the other hand, it's 2k lines of
m4 macros, well...


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