12.4 Configuring Site Details
Some software packages require complex site-specific information. Some
examples are host names to use for certain services, company names, and
email addresses to contact. Since some configuration scripts generated
by Metaconfig ask for such information interactively, people sometimes
wonder how to get that information in Autoconf-generated configuration
scripts, which aren't interactive.
Such site configuration information should be put in a file that is
edited only by users, not by programs. The location of the file
can either be based on the
prefix variable, or be a standard
location such as the user's home directory. It could even be specified
by an environment variable. The programs should examine that file at
run time, rather than at compile time. Run-time configuration is more
convenient for users and makes the configuration process simpler than
getting the information while configuring. See section `Variables for Installation Directories' in GNU Coding Standards, for more information on where to put data files.