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Implicit dependency on the existence of /bin/ in make 3.79.1-7 - possible bug


For historical reasons at my place of work, we maintain a subset of 
some of the cygwin tools for our build processes (e.g. our makefiles 
rely on sed, awk, grep etc). We do this so that we can keep the 
necessary tools in source control (yeah, I know...) and folks don't 
need to have full installs of cygwin cluttering their hard drives if 
they don't want.

The location of these executables is not /bin, and in the general case 
the programmers do not have cygwin 'installed', just the subset from 
out of source control.

Because of this, I have found what may be a problem in v3.79.1-7 of 
make, namely that it can fail in very simple test cases if it is not 
executed within a proper installation of cygwin - which is undesirable 
in our case.

e.g. have a directory c:\gibberish\bin that contains make.exe ls.exe 
and sh.exe -and all related DLLs, which are all the latest versions as 
of May 2003. Put it on your path. Temporarily rename your cygwin /bin 
directory - wherever it is - to /_bin

The following makefile:
.PHONY: all

when processed - 'make -f test.mak' or whatever - will fail with an 
error similar to:

"cannot open /c:"

I believe it may be due to line 33 of main.c in the make source.

It used to say:

/* start off assuming we are using native command shell */
unixy_shell = 1;

Now it says:

/* start off assuming we are using native command shell */
unixy_shell = access ("/bin/sh", X_OK) == 0;

Note that make v3.79.1-5 works just fine in the same environment, with 
the same makefile.

The other solution I found was to ensure that c:\gibberish\bin is 
mounted as /bin - but that felt a bit hacky, more of a workaround than 
a solution.

Basically, if make is intended to be usable outside of a proper install 
of cygwin, this is a bug. If not, it's not.

Thanks for reading.

Paul Connell

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