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The most important changes are invisible to you: the implementation of most macros have completely changed. This allowed more factorization of the code, better error messages, a higher uniformity of the user's interface etc. Unfortunately, as a side effect, some construct which used to (miraculously) work might break starting with Autoconf 2.50. The most common culprit is bad quotation.
For instance, in the following example, the message is not properly quoted:
AC_INIT AC_CHECK_HEADERS(foo.h,, AC_MSG_ERROR(cannot find foo.h, bailing out)) AC_OUTPUT
Autoconf 2.13 simply ignores it:
$ autoconf-2.13; ./configure --silent creating cache ./config.cache configure: error: cannot find foo.h $
while Autoconf 2.50 will produce a broken `configure':
$ autoconf-2.50; ./configure --silent configure: error: cannot find foo.h ./configure: exit: bad non-numeric arg `bailing' ./configure: exit: bad non-numeric arg `bailing' $
The message needs to be quoted, and the
AC_INIT AC_CHECK_HEADERS(foo.h,, [AC_MSG_ERROR([cannot find foo.h, bailing out])]) AC_OUTPUT
Many many (and many more) Autoconf macros were lacking proper quotation,
including no less than...
$ cat configure.in AC_DEFUN([AC_PROG_INSTALL], [# My own much better version ]) AC_INIT AC_PROG_INSTALL AC_OUTPUT $ autoconf-2.13 autoconf: Undefined macros: ***BUG in Autoconf--please report*** AC_FD_MSG ***BUG in Autoconf--please report*** AC_EPI configure.in:1:AC_DEFUN([AC_PROG_INSTALL], configure.in:5:AC_PROG_INSTALL $ autoconf-2.50 $
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