[tex-live] Can anybody remember what timestamps texinfo needs?

Gerben Wierda Sherlock at rna.nl
Tue Feb 18 11:28:41 CET 2003

On Monday, February 17, 2003, at 10:04 PM, Karl Berry wrote:

> 1) What I don't understand is why texinfo and only texinfo keeps
>    breaking for this.  What is so special about it?  I don't do 
> anything
>    but use automake/autoconf, and other tools do that too.

It is not just perforce, there is also a problem with texinfo as it is 
set up. The texinfo maintainers have added maintainer-specific 
dependencies to the Makefile. As a result, there is a circular 
dependency (Makefile -> configure -> Makefile). This is doable in 
principle, but the system becomes 'brittle' because it is easy for the 
Makefile to conclude that configure has to be remade (which requires 
autoconf) and re-run. Requiring autoconf on the 'user' side is against 
the whole 'auto*' philosophy. Auto* stuff is for the maintainer only, 
the user should not need it. They will agree, but they have made that 
independence depend on timestamps instead of setup.

I think this is a mistake. Making configure depend on Makefile produces 
a less robust setup (as we see now). Suddenly, the *source* setup 
becomes dependent on time stamps (normally, only *results* are 
dependent on time stamps. And there is a lot that can go wrong with 

So, do not blame perforce. Blame the texinfio maintainers who have gone 
one step to far in trying to automate their maintenance work, thereby 
making texinfo brittle for users.


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