Dealing with autotools

martin f krafft madduck at
Wed Apr 15 10:07:49 UTC 2009

also sprach Russ Allbery <rra at> [2009.03.10.2247 +0100]:
> > When packaging, I'm undecided on these two options:
> >  1. Build-depend on automake and let it rebuilt itself at 'make' time
> Definitely the right solution IMO.  This is what I do with all of my
> packages.

Wasn't this heavily frowned upon in Debian for many years?

I just read again /usr/share/doc/autotools-dev/README.Debian
(unfortunately, I cannot find a VCS link to that file, so I put it
up here: [0]), and it contains a lot of valuable information on the

Maybe the most important message from it is that the use of patch
systems (and this includes vcs-pkg, at least in spirit) requires one
to do either

  - build-depend on automake/autoconf and make those steps part of
    the build process

  - work with upstream to fix their build systems so they can be
    tweaked for distros with command-line options instead of

To me, it sounds like those are exactly our goals, so it seems as if
build-depending on the autotools is the right way forward.

 .''`.   martin f. krafft <madduck at d.o>      Related projects:
: :'  :  proud Debian developer     
`. `'`
  `-  Debian - when you have better things to do than fixing systems
"in a country where the sole employer is the state, opposition means
 death by slow starvation. the old principle: who does not work shall
 not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not
                                                 -- leon trotsky, 1937
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