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afraid to build from source? (was Re: Remove cdrtools)

[Michael Poole]
> On top of the default automake behavior being horribly broken, does
> that make usual revision control practices horribly broken?

It really bothers me to hear people claim as a best practice that you
should never recompile configure.ac or Makefile.am except under
controlled conditions.  To me it is a very important philosophical
point that Debian be self-hosting.  That means packages should build
without error from source, not just from intermediate text files like
'y.tab.c', 'configure', or 'Makefile.in' which, while arch-independent,
are not particularly human-editable, and certainly not source code in
the GPL sense.

Using a provided 'configure' binary instead of building from source has
the same problem as using any other provided binary rather than
building from source.  It clearly expresses a lack of confidence that
the system _is_ in fact self-hosting.  It tells our users, "we will
give you all the source code, but you'd better not modify that one
configure.in source file, because we do not dare trust our tools to
build it correctly."

So yeah, I advocate always building packages from source, and if
autoconf someday comes up with an incompatibility that causes a FTBFS
somewhere, let that be reported and fixed.  Not just worked around by
trying to avoid running autoconf.

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