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Re: Removal of libtool1.4

Scripsit Scott James Remnant <scott@netsplit.com>

> 3) It is only required when used with Autoconf 2.13, which is also no
>    longer maintained upstream.

This worries me a bit. Some upstream authors refuse to use autoconf
2.5x on general principles - could dropping libtool1.4 support mean
that certain bugs in their packages can only be fixed if one *also*
ports their configure.in to 2.5x and keeps that port seperately
maintained forever after?

Of course, we may reach a point where keeping libtool functioning is
more work than doing a slew of autoconf-upgrade forks, and I'm not one
to say we haven't reached it yet.

> 1) No package Depends on it; only 11 packages Build-Depend on it:
>    <http://people.debian.org/~keybuk/libtool1.4-rdepends.txt>

But isn't autofoo and footool supposed to be use by the *packager*
rather than the buildds? In that case, looking at control files will
not tell how many packages actually needs it.

I know that I had problems recently when I tried to build one of my
packages out of cvs, and the configure script malfunctioned because I
had the wrong libtool version available when I ran autoconf. (In this
case the problem was I had woody's libtool 1.4 installed and the
package required 1.5, but it could easily have been the other way
around). The point is that once I got it fixed, the right configure
script ended up in the .diff.gz file, and there is nothing in the
package's dependencies to suggest that I needed any version of libtool
at all to *create* the .diff.gz file.

> And the silly thing is, it's not actually that *hard* to update lagging
> software to use Autoconf 2.5x,

It may be hard to keep such an update up-to-date if upstream refuses
to accept a patch.  Some upstream users of autoconf 2.13 use private
extensions which make more-or-less heavy use of undocumented 2.13
internals and won't upgrade easily to 2.5x.

(I discovered one such example when I did a private fork of xterm,
whose author is a 2.13 believer, and tried to upgrade the autoconf
input to 2.5x. It took a serious amount of rewriting, and some of the
macros I simply had to comment out).

Henning Makholm                "De kan rejse hid og did i verden nok så flot
                                 Og er helt fortrolig med alverdens militær"

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