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schwern (1528)

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Schwern can destroy CPAN at his whim.

Journal of schwern (1528)

Friday December 17, 2004
02:04 AM

I hate make

[ #22348 ]

Particularly the concept of writing a cross-platform Makefile. Its like cross-platform GUI code, nearly impossible. Here's a little microcosm of my pain.

I want to run a make target in a subdirectory. On Unix that's easy.

        cd dir && $(MAKE) target FOO=bar

And that even works on NT. But what about Win9x and nmake (ie. the "free as in beer" Windows native make that most people get)? It doesn't understand &&. Futhermore each line of the shell can effect another. So you have to do this.

        cd dir
        $(MAKE) target FOO=bar
        cd ..

I'll be merciful and skip explaining what dmake brings to the party.

But then there's another make variant, MMS/K for VMS. And with completely alien shell conventions. There its...

        set default [.dir]
        $(MAKE) target FOO=bar
        set default [-]

But that's not quite right. You can't just pass args to make on VMS, oh no. The need special macro magic.

        set default [.dir]
        $(MAKE) target /macro=(FOO=bar)
        set default [-]

And $(MAKE) isn't set. Its $(MMS). Lovely.

        MAKE = $(MMS)

        set default [.dir]
        $(MAKE) target /macro=(FOO=bar)
        set default [-]

This difference alone accounts for a huge wad of duplication in MakeMaker. I'm whittling away at it with a cd() method.

        my $make_command = $mm->cd($dir, @commands);

Then I can plunk that $make_command into a Makefile and be reasonably sure it'll be the right thing for the current platform. This alone knocked out most of MM_VMS is proving more tenacious, I haven't decided what to do yet about the /macro= wackiness and other MMS argument passing anomalies. Probably yet another method.

Now before you think "why do you bother with VMS?", let me say that I get more help and patches from vmsperl than I do from Windows users. And despite all its faults I can at least telnet to a VMS machine to test things out, DEC/Compaq/HP helpfully provides several for such purposes ( But rjbs is setting up a Windows machine for me to VNC into and I got an offer on Perlmonks for some sort of email-based Windows smoke acount. So hopefully that will make life a little easier.

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  • Why not something like $mm->runcmd(%opt) where %opt:
    cmd => argv[0]
    args => [argv[1..]]
    env => {...}
    cwd => directory where to cd in and out of
    stdin => file
    stdout => file
    Shades of t/, don't you think? :-)

    • See MM_Any->oneliner(). It makes the job barely tolerable. Here's an example from generating the clean target.

              # Equivalent to 'cd $dir && $(TESTF) $(FIRST_MAKEFILE) && $(MAKE) clean'
              for my $dir (@{$self->{DIR}}) {
                      my $subclean = $self->oneliner(sprintf 'CODE', $dir);
      chdir '%s'; system '$(MAKE) clean' if -f '$(FIRST_MAKEFILE)';