Subject: Re: should/can FSBs give grants?
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 03 Jul 2002 11:57:24 -0700

Tom Lord <lord@regexps.com> writes:

> For exaple, an FSB can publish a list of its 1000 favorite projects
> and make an announcement.  The FSB can say: "we will give a gift of
> $300 per year to up to 1000 individuals, each designated by one of
> these projects _if_ at least 60% of the projects on this list take the
> following steps:
> 
> 	*) always keep the ".tar.gz" link on freshmeat up to date
> 	*) always use ascending, three-digit version numbers
> 	*) include an up-to-date `PKGCFG' "spec" file with every release"

I think a more effective technique to accomplish this would be to
provide tools which are easy to use and which make these goals
automatic.

For an example, consider the situation before autoconf was created.
Every free software package was built in different way.  Typically
there was a step of ``manually edit this header file to properly
reflect your system.''

Autoconf is actually not easy to use.  Using it effectively requires
knowing three relatively obscure languages (autoconf input language,
M4, /bin/sh) and requires an understanding of the ways in which
systems can vary.  Using it to build a program which can run on a
non-Unix system is a black art.  There are few guides to using it
well; I suspect that I wrote and co-wrote the ones which most people
look at, and I'm well aware of their deficiencies.

Despite all this, probably 80% to 90% of free software packages can
now be built using ``configure; make''.  This is an enormous
improvement, and makes life much easier for FSBs who use many
packages.

Ian