[Aboriginal] Fwd: Re: Aboriginal. Wow! and Thanks!

Rob Landley rob at landley.net
Sat Jun 25 15:47:23 PDT 2011

I got permission to move this thread onto the list, so I'm about to
forward some of the backlog.  FYI.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Aboriginal. Wow! and Thanks!
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2011 20:18:41 -0500
From: Rob Landley <rob at landley.net>
To: Paul Kramer <kramerica at me.com>

On 06/14/2011 07:04 PM, Paul Kramer wrote:
> Hello Rob,
> I just discovered your work today. THANKS!

Glad you liked it.  Oddly enough, I'm publishing 1.0.2 later today
(based on commit 1375).

> Just a bit about me. I was gatekeeper, build, release, test for
> HP-UX 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, SunOS SparcStation 2 4.1.3, Solaris Kernel
> SDK.... then I went off and started going into vertical product teams
> setting their dev environments up, refactoring their source trees and
> putting in new build system and automation, then off to the next
> team.

It's a gigantic pain in the ass, isn't it?

> Well, I'm coming full circle. I needed to relearn so much I've 
> forgotten, went to LSF and CLSF, but was feeling something is 
> missing, it's a bit dated. So off to google search I go and I found
> a discussion you were having with a LSF member, and you mentioned 
> Aboriginal. And so here I am.
> Here is my blog http://www.qbalsoftware.com ... I really like
> helping teams get a killer dev, pre-integration environment in place.
> I've thought many times over the years of created mini-distro, just
> enough to get a board/system up. But at the same time solving a bunch
> of fundamental problems... like autotools, and poor makefile 
> implementations, packaging, etc...

You might want to look at the big presentation Mark and I did a few
years ago.  It's enormous and a bit stale, but it described the design
and reasons for it more thoroughly than we've found time to do since:


You might also want to look at the the Linux From Scratch entry in
sources/control-images (the prebuilt binary of which is in
downloads/binaries/control-images).  That's my build automation
infrastructure, with Linux From Scratch 6.7 used as an example.

> While at Sun in the 90's and at 3 startups, I'd tear out entire
> build infrastructure, restructure trees and put in implementations
> that sort-a look like this:
> http://www.qbalsoftware.com/Site/Blog/Entries/2011/5/9_Makefiles_Generic_Flexible_and_Simple_Part-2.html
> and a driver to crank out multi-variants builds like this
> http://www.qbalsoftware.com/Site/Blog/Entries/2011/5/9_Makefiles_Generic_Flexible_and_Simple_Part-3.html

I'll look at this after I get the 1.0.2 release posted.

> I'll show people that... in
> http://www.qbalsoftware.com/Site/Blog/Entries/2011/5/9_Makefiles_Generic_Flexible_and_Simple_Part-2.html
>  this design... the makefile.targets is the build system...
> makefile, makefile.package and makefile.resolve is another system...
> its the data model that we use to drive the build. I could write that
> stuff in any language and using the driver script I show above, pass
> in the resolved properties.
> This is how easy I think build systems can be. Of course, what I'd 
> like to see is 'Make' revisited for the multi-variant problems we 
> face

My approach to make, autoconf, and automake is a quote from Aliens: "I
say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit: only way to be sure."

Make combines imperative and declarative code in the same file, and then
people try to beat some semblance of order out of it with recursive make
(the definitive takedown of which is
http://aegis.sourceforge.net/auug97.pdf ) and then people write
extensive systems like kbuild on top of it...

The status quo is horrible.

> Java people might call makefile.targets an Inversion of Control 
> container... the way I define all the tasks as properties, and can 
> override everything from the command line

I look forward to reading your blog posts, and can't follow this part of
the discussion until then...

> BTW -- I think if more folks considered the pattern I'm using with 
> this makefile implementation, we'd see a lot of automation in 
> engineering teams get very simple.
> Thanks Again -- I cannot wait to get to work this evening with 
> Aborginal

The new release is maybe 2 hours away from being posted...


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