[HEADS UP] GNU make 3.82

Ade Lovett ade at FreeBSD.org
Sun Mar 13 00:00:52 UTC 2011

On Mar 12, 2011, at 17:22 , b. f. wrote:

>> On Fri, Mar 11, 2011 at 09:14:50PM -0800, Doug Barton wrote:
>>> There are way too many things happening "in private" around here and
>>> the only way to solve that problem is to open the doors.
>> Would you please offer examples of decisions that you feel that way about?
> We need not look any farther than this episode to see an example of
> how things could have been handled better.  I don't think that the
> course of action that was ultimately adopted was unreasonable, but did
> we have to wait from the 8 October, when I filed
> ports/151312

I quote from the PR log:

  State-Changed-From-To: open->suspended
  State-Changed-By: ade
  State-Changed-When: Fri Oct 8 16:40:29 UTC 2010
  gnu make 3.81 -> 3.82 is, sadly, exceptionally non-trivial.  A number of
  features present in releases prior to 3.82 are technically "wrong", and
  this release has corrected them.  A _lot_ of stuff breaks.  It will be
  looked at, but don't hold your breath.

Plenty of other stuff was happening in autotools-land at the time.  We had already run a previous preliminary analysis of gmake 3.81->3.82 and it was _not_ pretty.

That update to the PR took just a little under 2 hours from initial submission.  Suggesting that it took until March 11th is disingenuous at _best_

> to learn what was actually broken by the change, so that we could
> begin to fix it?

This requires multiple -exp runs.  A number of ports that failed with 3.81->3.82 have a non-trivial number of ports that depend on them.  Simply taking the first set of breakage does _not_ present the entire picture.  Short term hacks, such as allowing those ports to build with 3.81 are _required_ in order to fully understand the depth of the situation.

Infrastructure work is a painful experience.  Throwing out a PR with "exp-run probably desirable" is not particularly useful, and shows a certain naivety when it comes to such wide-ranging changes.  It is a highly iterative procedure, requiring many man- and cpu-hours of work.  Those of us that do it may not be doing the best possible job, but there's a distinct lack of volunteers to actually run the process.   Behind closed doors, and in the Cabal Club, of course.



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