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Re: Extending gmake to make it less dependant on the shell

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Extending gmake to make it less dependant on the shell
Date: 25 Mar 2004 07:57:57 +0200

> From: Matt Lavoie <address@hidden>
> Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 12:13:42 -0800
> It occurs to me that there is a core set of simple os-related functions that
> makefiles typically use.  The short list below is just an example.  If these
> became part of gmake -- the resulting makefiles would be much less reliant
> on shells, thus minimizing the conditional code necessary in the makefiles.
> [ In addition, the lack of general expression evaluation in gmake also
> forces some reliance on the shell's conditional processing. ]
> Functions:
>    echo string
>    remove file
>    remove tree
>    make directory (w/ nesting)
>    remove directory (w/ recursive + force options)
>    copy <file1> <file2>
> Thoughts?

The idea is okay, IMHO, but I'm afraid that the list of built-ins
required to achieve what you want will not stop at the short list you
presented.  I've seen not-so-complex Makefile's that use tools like
Sed, `find', and awk, rely on elaborate shell-specific command-line
quoting, and other features that will give you trouble if you drag
such a Makefile across platforms.  Even a simple `cd $FOO' will break
on Windows if the value of $FOO includes a drive letter.

So I'm not sure how practical would it be to implement a set of
built-ins that could solve a reasonably large proportion of such
problems.  I guess more research is needed to gather typical
non-portable constructs in Makefile's, before a decision could be

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