"#!..." (Re[2]: cabal configure screw-up)

Duncan Coutts duncan.coutts at worcester.oxford.ac.uk
Sat Aug 27 09:20:36 EDT 2005

On Sat, 2005-08-27 at 09:02 -0400, Seth Kurtzberg wrote:
> Ross Paterson wrote: 

> > For some packages that interface to C libraries, configure solves a
> > real problem on Unix systems, and we need a way to solve that problem
> > on Win32.  It might be enough to include Win32 versions of the files
> > that configure generates, and on Win32 to just copy those instead of
> > running configure.
> >   
> I would suggest that, while configure does solve a problem, it isn't
> the best way to solve the problem.  A properly abstracted and layered
> implementation of O/S specific calls, with each environment supported
> by an implementation file, is much closer to "doing the right thing."


> However, people wanted to know why it didn't use configure.  If
> configure identifies the environment and copies the correct files,
> that would satisfy the need for consistency (that is, for this package
> you use ./configure just as you do for many other packages).  Using
> the methodology of configure, in my mind, is embracing ann ugly
> philosophy.

I think the problem here is not the configure philisophy but its
implementation using standard unix tools. That obviously doesn't work on

However the idea of configure I think is sound. Instead of creating a
bit of code for each platform you want to support you identify features
of the environment instead (ie "does ld support the '-x' flag on this
system?"). That way you can port to systems you'd never thought of, or
cope with changes in a target platform more easily.


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