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24.1 Why autconfiscate

There are a few reasons to autoconfiscate a package. You might be porting your package to a new platform for the first time, or your might have outstripped the capabilities of an ad hoc system. Or, you might be assuming maintenance of a package and you want to make it fit in with other packages that use the GNU Autotools.

For instance, for libgcj, we wanted to distribute some libraries needed for proper operation, such as the zip archiving program and the Boehm garbage collector. In neither case was an autoconf framework available. However, we felt one was required in order to give the overall package a seamless and easy-to-use configuration and build system. This attention to ease of install by users is important; it is one reason that the GNU Autotools were written.

In another case, a group I worked with was taking over maintenance of a preexisting package. We preferred an Autoconf-based solution to the home-grown one already in use by the package – the existing system was based on platform tests, not feature tests, and was difficult to navigate and extend.

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