Re: building RPM from source

John Gruenenfelder (
Sat, 5 Apr 2003 17:59:39 -0700

On Sat, Apr 05, 2003 at 07:29:56PM -0500, Frank Gore wrote:
>On April 6, 2003 09:57, David Taylor wrote:
>> Can anyone offer hints or suggestions please?  I've been avoiding
>> learning autoconf and automake .. hopefully I can avoid it for a little
>> longer.  :-)
>Out of curiosity, what's there to learn? The word "auto" kinda describes 
>exactly how much there is to learn in the first place.

Trust me, there's *plenty* to learn.  The "auto" portion of the name more
correctly refers to how much work is needed by the person on the receiving end
of your package.

Learning to use automake is not too difficult.  Learning to use autoconf
*well* takes quite a bit of effort.  The better you know vanilla shell
scripting, the easier your task will be.  Knowing M4 is handy to if you need
to get complex.  Writing a simple autoconf script is not too hard, but the
point of using autoconf is to aid in portability and getting this to work very
well will take some effort.

The third element of the triumverate, libtool, is also fairly complex, but is
really *really* handy for dealing with shared libraries or dynamic modules
across varying systems.  I've got a program using all three tools.  Once I had
it working well on my Linux system, it actually needed no changes to compile
on IRIX (super at the UA).

If your interested, the definitive must read book for using these tools is the
"Autobook".  You can find it online for free.  Follow it and you'll be able to
use the tools.  Using just the man pages/info docs would be very painful.

--John Gruenenfelder    Research Assistant, Steward Observatory, U of Arizona
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