(autoconf.info)Leviticus


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20.3 Leviticus
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Since my `configure' scripts determine the system's capabilities
automatically, with no interactive user intervention, I decided to call
the program that generates them Autoconfig.  But with a version number
tacked on, that name would be too long for old Unix file systems, so I
shortened it to Autoconf.

   In the fall of 1991 I called together a group of fellow questers
after the Holy Grail of portability (er, that is, alpha testers) to
give me feedback as I encapsulated pieces of my handwritten scripts in
M4 macros and continued to add features and improve the techniques used
in the checks.  Prominent among the testers were Franc,ois Pinard, who
came up with the idea of making an Autoconf shell script to run M4 and
check for unresolved macro calls; Richard Pixley, who suggested running
the compiler instead of searching the file system to find include files
and symbols, for more accurate results; Karl Berry, who got Autoconf to
configure TeX and added the macro index to the documentation; and Ian
Lance Taylor, who added support for creating a C header file as an
alternative to putting `-D' options in a makefile, so he could use
Autoconf for his UUCP package.  The alpha testers cheerfully adjusted
their files again and again as the names and calling conventions of the
Autoconf macros changed from release to release.  They all contributed
many specific checks, great ideas, and bug fixes.


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