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20.1 Genesis

In June 1991 I was maintaining many of the GNU utilities for the Free
Software Foundation.  As they were ported to more platforms and more
programs were added, the number of `-D' options that users had to
select in the makefile (around 20) became burdensome.  Especially for
me--I had to test each new release on a bunch of different systems.  So
I wrote a little shell script to guess some of the correct settings for
the fileutils package, and released it as part of fileutils 2.0.  That
`configure' script worked well enough that the next month I adapted it
(by hand) to create similar `configure' scripts for several other GNU
utilities packages.  Brian Berliner also adapted one of my scripts for
his CVS revision control system.

   Later that summer, I learned that Richard Stallman and Richard Pixley
were developing similar scripts to use in the GNU compiler tools; so I
adapted my `configure' scripts to support their evolving interface:
using the file name `Makefile.in' as the templates; adding `+srcdir',
the first option (of many); and creating `config.status' files.

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