Re: Which Perl versions Autoconf needs [PATCH included]

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On Wed, Mar 29, 2023, at 11:45 PM, Jacob Bachmeyer wrote:
> I have since looked into this a bit further.  The standard advice for
> these features in Perl is to use POD, which already has a well-
> developed system for extracting manpages instead of needing help2man,
> and the Pod::Usage module (first included in Perl core in Perl 5.6)
> for extracting a help message from embedded POD text.  The problem
> with using POD here would be the usage block from
> Autom4te::ChannelDefs.
> Further examination led to a simple solution, although I am not
> entirely certain what the regexps in the two versions of
> eval_qq_no_interpolation are supposed to do exactly:

Before we get any further into the specifics, a project
management question.

Are you, Jacob Bachmeyer, volunteering to maintain the Perl scripts in
autoconf and automake, for at least the next several years, and in
particular to test compatibility with these very old versions of Perl?
Because I don't think anyone else currently active in development has
either the time or the expertise for it.  (Just as a data point here,
the oldest version of Perl that I myself have any access to, presently,
is 5.*16*, and I don't know how long that machine will stay that way.)

If you're *not* prepared to do the work required, not only now, but also
for the foreseeable future, then I'm going to say that we should *not*
roll back the minimum supported Perl version.


Independent of Perl versioning concerns, I would happily take a patch
whose net effect is to remove the build dependency on help2man; however
you want to accomplish that is fine.  (It has long been my opinion that
the FSF's treatment of manpages as second-class citizens is wrongheaded,
and so my *ideal* solution here would be to figure out a way to generate
both the --help text and high-quality manpages from autoconf.texi, thus
consolidating all of the documentation in one place.  However, your
suggestion would be a step in the right direction.)


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