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From: kral123 (kral123_at_[hidden])
Date: 2002-02-20 10:59:17

--- In boost_at_y..., "David Abrahams" <david.abrahams_at_r...> wrote:
> I suppose we ought to make a FAQ page about this. You can find the
> by searching the yahoogroups archives for autotools, automake, etc.

I read through the threads and got a general feel for the Jam
argument. It's that the boost folk are aiming to make as portable a
package as possible and want to provide everything needed in one
package and think they can't do that with autoconf+automake, and that
autoconf+automake are too tied into UNIX or would require too much
external code (some people seem to think they need cygwin). For

> "The Cygwin tools are not an option for Boost. We can't require
Win32 users to d/l this toolset just to use Boost."

The thing is, boost _is_ requiring users to download a toolset just
for Boost. It's a boost-specific Jam. Why not instead provide, just
like you do Jam, the open source tools required to support
autotools? It's the same concept, but autotools-support rather than
jam-support. You can provide them in source form and have a Makefile
just like you do now for Jam.

The benefits:

- Has the same benefits as including the source of Jam as is done
now, as boost will still have the minimal external dependencies as
was desired.

- Brings in all the benefits of being able to use autotools. (More
portable, user + devleoper familiarity, existing platform
compatibility tests, etc.).

- These tools aren't boost-specific; other people support and develop
these tools. It would free boost people to work on boost rather than
having to work on and maintain a custom build system for boost. As
architectures change or emerge, you gain support for them

- People that already have support for autotools wouldn't need to
hassle with building tool support at all.

The other confusion I'm hearing is that people think that the tools
required to support autotools scripts require you to install all of
cygwin, or that they will have UNIX forced on them, or that there're
too many tools required. These aren't true at all. The required
tools can compile totally without cygwin and as native Windows
programs (using the Microsoft runtimes, and as such obviously
supporting "C:\" paths, etc.). It's commonly known as mingw32

For an example, look at the toolchain created by the SDL people that
runs via mingw32 ( You'd only need
10% of it or so (sh, sed, + fileutils mostly) since it's a complete
development environment for SDL and therefore has way more than you'd
need just to run autotools, but just for an example, it packs the
support programs, a GNU toolchain, compiler, debugger and libraries
into 8 megs and you can quite easily pop up a DOS window and run a
configure script given you have the exes in your path as it provides
the needed tools.

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