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From Paul Davis <>
Subject Re: Problems releasing 0.10.1 (nslater, back at you!)
Date Sun, 08 Nov 2009 20:24:40 GMT
>> I don't follow. I'm assuming that not lots of people use VPATH builds.
> Yes, I that is an unfounded assumption.

Let me rephrase slightly, I assume very few people are dependent on
running the test suite as part of  a VPATH build. For instance, not a
single person has even contributed a "Yes, I use VPATH builds and
would appreciate the test suite working under that setup." If its so
common, where are these people?

>> If there is some hidden build factory out there that's being kind
>> enough to build CouchDB on many platforms then I'd be orders of
>> magnitude more interested in making this work.
> Ubuntu, Debian, etc.

There are CouchDB packages available for those distros already. And
our test suite has never run as part of distcheck.

>> To me, I'm not seeing the motivation
>> to do anything more than run the checks as part of distsign as opposed
>> to distcheck.
> You're treating the symptoms, and not the cause.
> The cause is that our test suite cannot handle VPATH settups.
> This is a bug.

Patches welcome :)

>> I haven't been convinced that this is a wrong vs. right issue.
> We use an Autoconf build system, so we should support VPATH setups.

We do. Building and installing CouchDB with a VPATH setup works just
fine. I'm only looking to be convinced that all of the pain that's
involved with supporting VPATH tests is worth it.

>> There is a lot of extra stuff that goes into VPATH builds and making sure
>> they work properly..
>> And its just added weight as we accumulate more
>> and more testing and build infrastructure. I just haven't been
>> convinced that there's a reason we should carry that.
> Because we're trying to grow our user base, not shrink it - and that means
> not cutting off deployment scenarios because it was a bit of a chore to get
> it working properly.

Just to reiterate, the builds and packaging would work just dandy. We
just wouldn't be able to run the tests during a VPATH build. We've
survived this long without it.

> This behaviour is not some new crazy feature I dreamt up one night, it's a
> standard, and well understood part of having an Autoconf build system -
> arguably the oldest active, and most popular open source build system that
> exists.

The argument that its part of "The Autotools Way" is not lost on me.
But I'm trying to understand why it's this way to begin with. What is
the scenario that prevents people from putting the tarball on the
read-only partition and expanding it to their $(top_builddir)?

> And sure, it's tricky. But packaging is hard, welcome to packaging.

It may appear that I'm just being a crotchety developer not wanting to
go through and fix things, but my concerns are that anything we do in
the test suite that touches a file will be thoroughly more complex
because of this. Any file needs to be identified as "reading a source
file", "reading a built file", or "needs to be writable". Every file.
And we have to add the overhead to communicate $(top_srcdir) and
$(top_builddir) to all parts of the code that touch those files. And
then if we have static files that need that information, then they
have to be built by configure or make as part of the build. And every
person that wants to hack on those tests will need to understand all
of those intricacies.

To me, that is a large weight for our test suite going forward.
Especially when our current suite is roughly one fourth (judging from
coverage) of what it should be. Trying to recruit people beyond the
three or so that have contributed to those tests is just going to get
harder the more complicated that stuff gets.

So yes, it would be nice to have VPATH builds be able to run the
tests. But it would also be nice to have some idea as to the merit
behind carrying this forward.

Either way, I've pretty much resigned myself to getting these to run
as part of the VPATH build. The autotools juggernaut has successfully
claimed yet another piece of my soul.

Paul Davis

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