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Re: Missing documentation for autoconf

Brian M. Carlson wrote:
Please only quote those portions of the text to which you are replying.
I have removed the text that you quoted.

On Tue, 2006-02-21 at 09:46 +0400, olive wrote:

The social contract say also "We will never make the system require the use of a non-free component". It is reasonable to think that the use of Debian requires the GFDL documentation. If Debian think there are non-free they are breaking the social contract; could someone explain me how this is not a break of the social contract.

How is this required?  Several programs in Debian have little or no
documentation.  Because people have the source, they can discover how
those programs work.  Contrast this with a free program depending on a
non-free library, where people cannot use the free program without using
(or reimplementing) the non-free library.

Another difference is that there are many different free examples of
input for autoconf, and no free examples of the non-free library.

IOW, it may be inconvenient to use the code in question, but it is
possible.  Documentation is not required to use code which has source.
You may have heard the phrase, "Use the source, Luke."

Everything is always possible. Even understanding how a program works without source by disassembling it. If a free program depends on an non-free library you can reimplement the free library.

But I think that for certain software; not having the documentation is a major inconvenience not a minor one.

I also do not believe you because if autoconf-doc were required for
using autoconf, then autoconf should have a Depends: (or at least, a
Recommends:) on it.  This is not the case.

It's depend what you want to do with it. If you just want to make the configure from an existing configure.ac then the doc is not necessary. If you want to implement an autoconf script by yourself; then I think the doc is necessary. As for other softwares too. I thought Debian was sufficiently comprehensive to be able to develop on it the software that are part of it and with the missing doc; this is not the case anymore.

If the consensus is that documentation is required for use (I do not
agree at all), then that would be cause for removing autoconf from main,
not including autoconf-doc.

Every software depend (indirectly) on autoconf (you need it to generate the configure script from the configure.ac; which is the real source. By convenience an already made configure script is already present in the source code of most packages in order that the package can be built without autoconf; but if you want to modify this script the real source is the configure.ac). autoconf is needed to build essential software such as gcc and the basic gnu utilities from which every other software depend.


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