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From Alexei Kosut <>
Subject Re: Configur{e,ation} changes
Date Mon, 09 Sep 1996 21:02:53 GMT
On Mon, 9 Sep 1996, Jim Jagielski wrote:

> What I'm doing is placing the script stuff from autoconf in a autoconf
> directory in ./src. Thus, a script is available and it's what's
> included with the autoconf distribution. Thus we include config.guess
> and a script and abide by the letter of the license. We are also
> including the script for future use as well (possible) and thus
> abide by the spirit as well.

That is very clearly illegal by the letter as well as spirit of the autoconf
license. Autoconf itself is GPLed. You cannot include anything from
the autoconf distribution in your software unless it also uses the
GPL. Now, autoconf is a program that generates a script from an input
file. It also generates some ancillary scripts (config.guess,
config.sub, install-sh, whatever), which happen to be identical to
scripts present in the autoconf distribution. However, legally, they
are not. And this package, generated by autoconf, may be distributed
and used freely.

I don't think, frankly, that any sort of these
unused-directory-and-script tricks will work. Maybe they're to the
letter of the license, but they're certainly not to the spirit,
however you rationalize it, and I have no desire to incur the wrath of
the FSF lawyers, or the disregard of the FSF authors.

The proper solution, as I've said before, is to use autoconf to
generate a script that we actually use. I created such a script, it's
available at /httpd/incoming/Configure.tar. It does exactly what your
script would do, except it's autoconf-generated.

There is nothing wrong with this, from any point of view. You mention
advancd shell features, but autoconf-generated scripts don't use
them. The restrictions you mentioned (functions and so forth) come
straight from the GNU coding manual. Yes, autoconf-generated scripts
have a lot of fluff at the top, for our purposes, but it's really
nothing we need worry about - it won't do anything wrong, or even
affect us in any way. It's just some argument-parsing and
initialization routines.

In short, I believe that using autoconf to generate a script that
determines the hostname, and using a derivative of the current
Configure script to then determine makefile options is the best way to
go. It's easy to use, simple, and adheres to both the letter and
spirit of the autoconf license. I have created such a script, it is
ready to go this instant; nothing more needs to be done except perhaps
more customization of the various rules set by the platform (which is
the whole purpose of doing this).

I vote +1 on including the files in Configure.tar (or a modification
thereof) in the Apache distribution.

Alexei Kosut <>      The Apache HTTP Server

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