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autoconf/automake: just can't get it to work at all.

  I'm having trouble with the cygwin auto*tool package and the wrappers it
puts around the different tool versions.  I've looked in the following places

man automake
man autoconf
info automake
info autoconf

and autoconf-wrapper-2.59.README is the only one with cygwin-specific usage
info.  It says 

"Port Notes:

Be sure to read the documentation in /usr/doc/autoconf-2.59/"

which doesn't exist, but /usr/share/doc/autoconf-wrapper-2.59/ does, and it
has a README that says that autoconf is a wrapper, that it will generally
execute the newer auto* tool versions unless it finds an old generated
configure script or is overridden by the WANT_AUTOCONF_2_1 or
FORCE_AUTOCONF_2_5 environment vars.  If there's any more cygwin-specific docs
than that, I just didn't find it.

 Anyway, I can't figure out any way to get it to work.  Back in the Good Old
Days (TM), I just used to cd into the relevant dir and execute
autoconf/automake according to whether I wanted to rebuild a configure script
or makefile from a .in/.am or whatever.  (As you can tell, I didn't understand
the process in great detail, because I never needed to.)  That was easy, but
the new side-by-side install system has me stumped.

  I've got an old (2.13/2.14-ish timeframe) binutils.  I edit ld/
Now I want to rebuild the thing, regenerating from

  I work on the assumption that an old binutils will need old auto*tools, so I
try the WANT_AUTOCONF_2_1 flag.  But it fails: running 'autoconf' silently
exits without doing anything at all, running 'automake' emits an error

dk@espanola /tools/external_source/gnu/binutils-x.xx> cvs up's password:
? diffs.txt
M ld/
dk@espanola /tools/external_source/gnu/binutils-x.xx> export
dk@espanola /tools/external_source/gnu/binutils-x.xx> autoconf
dk@espanola /tools/external_source/gnu/binutils-x.xx> automake
Usage: autoconf [-h] [--help] [-m dir] [--macrodir=dir]
       [-l dir] [--localdir=dir] [--version] [template-file]
automake: autoconf failed with exit status: 1
dk@espanola /tools/external_source/gnu/binutils-x.xx> cvs up's password:
? diffs.txt
M ld/

  If I just cd into the ld subdir and try running automake there, it also
fails, with the same error message as above.

  Trying it with the new autotools just seems to confirm my theory that the
source is too old to be compatible:

dk@espanola /dlxtools/external_source/gnu/binutils-x.xx> unset
dk@espanola /dlxtools/external_source/gnu/binutils-x.xx> export
dk@espanola /dlxtools/external_source/gnu/binutils-x.xx> autoconf error: possibly undefined macro: AS_FOR_TARGET
      If this token and others are legitimate, please use m4_pattern_allow.
      See the Autoconf documentation.
dk@espanola /dlxtools/external_source/gnu/binutils-x.xx> automake no proper invocation of AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE was found. You should verify that invokes AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE, that aclocal.m4 is present in the top-level directory, and that aclocal.m4 was recently regenerated (using aclocal).
automake: no `' found for any configure output
dk@espanola /dlxtools/external_source/gnu/binutils-x.xx>

  I tried setting WANT_AUTOCONF_2_1 and then enabling maintainer mode at
configure time, in an attempt to have maintainer mode regen the makefile for
me, and although the configure went fine, the build fails when it comes to
recurse into the binutils subdir to configure and build down there, with the
following error:

else true; fi
touch stamp-lib
make[3]: Leaving directory `/repository/gcc-build/binutils/opcodes'
make[2]: Leaving directory `/repository/gcc-build/binutils/opcodes'
make[1]: Leaving directory `/repository/gcc-build/binutils/opcodes'
Configuring in binutils
loading cache .././config.cache
checking for Cygwin environment... (cached) yes
checking for mingw32 environment... (cached) no
checking host system type... i686-pc-cygwin
      ... omit much normal looking config test output here ...
checking whether getenv must be declared... (cached) no
checking whether environ must be declared... no
updating cache .././config.cache
creating ./config.status
creating Makefile
creating doc/Makefile
creating po/
creating config.h
make[1]: Entering directory `/repository/gcc-build/binutils/binutils'
cd /dlxtools/external_source/gnu/binutils-x.xx/binutils && automake --cygnus
Usage: autoconf [-h] [--help] [-m dir] [--macrodir=dir]
       [-l dir] [--localdir=dir] [--version] [template-file]
automake: autoconf failed with exit status: 1
make[1]: ***
[/dlxtools/external_source/gnu/binutils-x.xx/binutils/] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/repository/gcc-build/binutils/binutils'
make: *** [all-binutils] Error 2
dk@espanola /repository/gcc-build/binutils>


  I know that there's been a lot of effort put into the autoconf wrappers just
for the purpose of maintaining backward-compatibility, but I'm *really*
stumped here.  I have to support a legacy toolchain for a custom cpu and so
just upgrading to newer binutils and using the newer auto* versions isn't an
option; I really need to regenerate this makefile.

  Does anyone do this (work with old tools and sources) regularly and can tell
me how to make it work?

Can't think of a witty .sigline today....

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