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Re: gnustep-make experiment

From: Richard Frith-Macdonald
Subject: Re: gnustep-make experiment
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 14:01:49 +0000

On 13 Feb 2007, at 13:39, Andrew Ruder wrote:

On Tue, Feb 13, 2007 at 06:18:54AM +0000, Richard Frith-Macdonald wrote:
An extra dependency most emphatically IS an issue ...  because the
'people' you are referring to actually just means 'you', and you are
just guessing about other users, and even assuming that 'most' is
actually the case, then what you are proposing is to have something
that only works for 'most', not for all. Is your guess that 'most' is
55%, 70%, 95%?  At what point is the  remaining 45%, 30%, 5%
sufficiently small a minority that they become  a non-issue?

First off, pkg-config is a developer dependency.  Users of gnustep
applications that have them packaged by their distribution will not have
to worry about pkg-config.  For what it is worth, some of our
dependencies are already using pkg-config (libxml2, sqlite3, libart,
libpng, freetype, etc.).

Is the implication here that developers using a cross platform development package don't matter?

Second off, as pkg-config is a *developer dependency* far less worry
should be put into making it a dependency.  If you are an actual
developer, I'd hope you have the capability to get a few extra
dependencies sorted (especially considering that pkg-config IS available
on so many distributions at this point).

Sure I can, but I shouldn't have to unless I gain some considerable benefit from doing so.

GNUstep is supposed to be a cross-platform development system, and
anyone who actually does cross platform development would hit a
problem with pkg-config.

Are we talking about windows here or what? Seems like most of the time
cross-platform means windows,

Windows, Solaris, MacOS-X that I know of.
I guess most gnu/linux systems have it, but most others don't.

and once again, pkg-config should be able
to be compiled/setup on windows.

That's missing the point. Unless we supply it with the system and automatically install it, it's another hurdle. We already have too much installation of dependencies to do (particularly on windows), and should be working to automate things to make existing dependencies less painful.

Dependency issues do not rule out using things (indeed, GNUstep has
plenty of dependencies), but they are a big factor to consider, and
only appear minor to the people they don't happen to effect, so when
adding a dependency we need to be clear that what we are adding has
overwhelming advantages over the alternatives.  While pkg-config is
quite nice (and looking at it provides inspiration), it has no such

There is one major advantage that pkg-config does provide here and that
is simply that we are not maintaining it.  Everytime we work around
having another standard system service by reimplementing it in our
codebase, sure we save a 'dependency', but at the same time we have more
code that we have to support and that is never a good thing.

Well, that's a different issue than dependencies, but as Nicola pointed out, using pkg-config means we have to support it in terms of providing the metadata files it depends upon ... and that's actually as much work as (or more than) just building our own stuff. So in terms of maintenance and development effort required, the use of pkg- config is an additional burdon, not a time saver.

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