Suggested packaging guideline: avoid running autoreconf

Braden McDaniel braden at
Sun Oct 12 10:05:59 UTC 2008

On Sun, 2008-10-12 at 10:09 +0200, Nicolas Mailhot wrote:
> Le samedi 11 octobre 2008 à 21:35 -0400, Braden McDaniel a écrit :
> > On Sun, 2008-10-12 at 01:19 +0000, Kevin Kofler wrote:
> > > I wonder if we shouldn't even start treating generated autotools files the same 
> > > way as binary JARs (for which the packaging guidelines mandate that they have 
> > > to be removed and rebuilt from source). They're all generated files.
> > 
> > Probably the reason there is no guideline treating all generated files
> > the same way is that doing so is a really dumb idea.
> Probably the reason there is no guideline treating all generated files
> the same way is some groups of packagers are lazier than others.
> See, I can make inflamatory comments too.

Our conclusions aren't mutually exclusive.  Quite the contrary, if we
suppose your analysis is spot-on, mine's true in spades.

> IMHO there is no reason to allow any pre-generated file except when the
> generating chain is not packaged in Fedora.

And as I pointed out to Kevin, you're free to pursue incorporation of
such a guiding principle into the packaging guidelines.  It's not there
now.  And furthermore, this mode of thinking is not reflected in a huge
number of packages.

>  As Kevin wrote refusing to
> re-generate files because of peotential breakage is only papering over
> tool bugs.

Whether you consider the use of obsolete constructs (or the obsolescence
itself) "bugs" is subjective.  But avoiding the unnecessary regeneration
of files is about avoiding problems rather than papering over them.  And
those problems are at least as likely to be in the package being built
as they are in the build tool.

>  Also it's legaly borderline for everything which is (L)GPL.

If there's any uncertainty about this, it's easily resolved by
distributing patches to the build script sources in the source RPM.  But
distributing them doesn't mean they have to be applied as part of the

Braden McDaniel                           e-mail: <braden at>
<>                    Jabber: <braden at>

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