[Python-Dev] Evaluated cmake as an autoconf replacement

Alexander Neundorf alex.neundorf at kitware.com
Wed Apr 8 00:54:12 CEST 2009


On Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 12:43 AM, Greg Ewing <greg.ewing at canterbury.ac.nz> wrote:
> David Cournapeau wrote:
>>
>> Having a full
>> fledged language for complex builds is nice, I think most familiar
>> with complex makefiles would agree with this.
>
> Yes, people will still need general computation in their
> build process from time to time whether the build tool
> they're using supports it or not.

I'm maintaining the CMake-based buildsystem for KDE4 since 3 years now
in my sparetime, millions lines of code, multiple code generators, all
major operating systems. My experience is that people don't need
general computation in their build process.
CMake supports now more general purpose programming features than it
did 2 years ago, e.g. it has now functions with local variables, it
can do simple math, regexps and other things.
If we get to the point where this is not enough, it usually means a
real program which does real work is required.
In this case it's actually a good thing to have this as a separate
tool, and not mixed into the buildsystem.
Having a not very powerful, but therefor domain specific language for
the buildsystem is really a feature :-)
(even if it sounds wrong in the first moment).

>From what I saw when I was building Python I didn't actually see too
complicated things. In KDE4 we are not only building and installing
programs, but we are also installing and shipping a development
platform. This includes CMake files which contain functionality which
helps in developing KDE software, i.e. variables and a bunch of
KDE-specific macros. They are documented here:
http://api.kde.org/cmake/modules.html#module_FindKDE4Internal
(this is generated automatically from the cmake file we ship).
I guess something similar could be useful for Python, maybe this is
what distutils actually do ? I.e. they help with developing
python-standard-conformant software ?
This could be solved easily if python would install a cmake file which
provides the necessary utility functions/macros.

Alex


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