make and all that..

Paul Gilbert
Tue, 5 May 1998 14:22:38 -0400


Don't take me too seriously on this. I think you are all doing a great job and
I'm amazed at how well everything usually works in R. Besides, if I wanted to
have things automatically execute when I stick in the CD I'd probably be working
in Windows, not on Unix.

About "make install", I usually think of this as a last step, after you've
successfully made everything, to put things in the proper place for users to
have access. Maybe I'm wrong on the usual convention, but I don't think of it as
necessarily starting at the beginning. What I was suggesting with an install
script (setup may be a better name) was something that would make sure
everything was very clean and start at the beginning with configure and make.
This is not a high priority, but it also does not have to be very difficult. It
might simply be a script with lines

make extrasuperclean
make doc
make install

or something like that. I realize this may not work for every case, but I think
it can work very well for a large percentage of the simple cases. The main
advantage of something like this is that after a while dumb users like me start
to know the install script does everything and we can just type "install". That
way developers can play with the makefile more easily and not worry too much if
the documentation is completely up-to-date, as long as the install script works
and the documentation still says "use the install script". (I've been on the
other side of this - the problem with documentation is that it's usually for a
previous version. After a while it is much easier to test that a script works
than it is to make sure the documentation is correct.)


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