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Re: Outdated GNU config (config.{sub,guess}) and autotools-dev

On Sun, Jul 22, 2001 at 05:03:56PM -0500, Steve Langasek wrote:
> However, I think a makefile rule that allows the source code to be
> self-modifying by grabbing newer copies of config.{guess,sub} poses a problem,
> if the changes are also reverted as part of the build process in the 'clean'
> rule.

You think it poses a problem?  Or did you want to say it doesn't?

> I don't particularly want to be carrying around the entire text of
> config.* in my Debian diff.gz,

For me, compliance with licenses and a transparent build system matters
more than a short Debian diff.gz.

> and I don't see this as necessary if you have a
> Makefile that provides a proper recipe for reproducing this feat.  We don't
> know what version of libc headers the package will be built against, nor is
> a trail of this left in the final binary package; if we have a patch that
> causes 'autoconf' to be invoked at build-time to incorporate changes to
> configure.in, we don't know what version of autoconf will be used.

However, the license of the C library is the LGPL, which poses no problem
(see 6 b) in the LGPL).  For autoconf, well, I think you are right.  If
you read my past emails on this issue, then you will know that I am against
calling autoconf in debian/rules.

You had a point if you would mention a GPL'ed library, like libreadline.
In fact, this is a serious problem, and I will contact RMS about it.
We are probably in violation with the GPL in all programs that use
GPL'ed libraries.

> Note that the configure script itself is used by the autobuilders to make
> 'automatic changes to the source' (generated header files),

Just as you say, they are generated files in the build process, they don't
belong to the source code of the program.

> Moreover, the package author can't claim copyright on config.sub and
> config.guess -- these scripts may /ship/ with the various packages, but
> they're not a part of the software being built.

You are correct at the beginning of the sentence, but wrong at the end of it.
The fiels are part of the software as a whole, which is a derived work
composed of the authors work and the config.* files (and probably other
works, too). 

>  If automatically replacing
> config.guess and config.sub is a violation of the GPL, who is the injured
> party?  Is it the FSF's copyright on this code that would apply?

Yes, the FSF at least, as well as (maybe) all other copyright holders
that have copyright on parts of the program (as their license also requries
that the whole source of a derived work is provided).


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