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Re: Missing documentation for autoconf

On Tue, 2006-02-21 at 14:02 +0400, olive wrote: 
> Brian M. Carlson wrote:
> 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.

ITYM "the non-free library".

Your first sentence is not true.  Assuming the consensus reality, I
cannot teleport from one place to another.

Your arguments are unpersuasive, because the DFSG requires source.
Also, if a program requires the use of a Windows system library, it is
most likely not possible to completely reimplement the non-free library.
Even wine has not successfully done this.

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

What about not being able to modify or even *remove* sections of the
document that are useless, inaccurate, incomplete, inappropriate, wrong,
or otherwise unsuitable for a modified document?  I call that a major
inconvenience, as well as a freedom issue.

> > 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.

You snipped an important part of my text:

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

IOW, people could look at other autoconf scripts and determine what is
necessary.  I'm sure GNU hello (package hello) includes some great

By your own admission, if all you want to do with it is generate
configure, you don't need the documentation.  That's what the vast
majority of people want to do with it.  We do not, AFAIK, provide shell
script tutorials for posh for people who want to program POSIX shells,
but the vast majority of shell users probably to either simply use the
shell, or already know how to program it.

> > 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.

You missed my point.  My point is that given:
Package X is non-free.
Package Y is free.
Package Y depends on package X.
Package X is still non-free.

IOW, package X does not become free just because package Y depends on
it, and further package Y must go in contrib while it still depends on
package X.

But here, we don't have that problem, because autoconf in no way depends
on autoconf-doc.  The docs are not necessary for usage of autoconf.

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