Ada: yes or no?

Gerard Beekmans gerard at
Thu May 16 17:31:24 PDT 2002

On Fri, May 17, 2002 at 01:04:01AM +0100, Ian Molton wrote:
> I dont see the point. we dont say 'if you need telnet and ftp, get
> netkit-[telnet|ftp] hints'. Why should a non-essential compiler get
> different treatment from any other non-essential package add-on ?

You missed the point I think.

We build every package used in the lfs-book in its fullest (if not done so,
it should be) but we're making an exception for GCC. Now, with this Ada, if
you don't build it in chapter 5, then you cannot build it later on in
chapter 6. So when your system is all finished, you cannot install Ada by
just reinstalling GCC in the future. That's the problem here. You get
around it by introducing a pre-compiled binary on the system so ada can
build itself (must like gcc needs gcc to compile, ada needs itself to
compile as well). It's dirty to do so on an LFS system out of a philosophy
point of view, but introducing a precompiled binary on the host
distribution isn't a big deal. It's all precompiled anyways (unless you use
LFS but even then it's a host distro so it's less of a problem).

To come back to your telnet and ftp thing. If we were to install a package
that includes ftp and telnet but the instructions provided in the book
cause telnet and ftp not to be built, we are obliged to point it out and
provide a way to get the entire package when we choose to only install a
portion of it.
> I vote for no mention. we use LANGUAGES=c,c++ for a reason.

It's still not the same. You can simpy unpack gcc again and installing
whatever wasn't installed, with the exception of Ada. You cannot do it.
It's like removing /usr/bin/gcc and expect to be able to reinstall GCC by
simply unpacking the tarball and compile gcc again - it's a circular
> If you /must/ put something in, make it general, like 'if you need any
> languages other than c or c++, please add them to LANGUAGES=xxx,yyy in
> chapter 6'.

By now I trust you understand the point. The installation is nasty in
chapter 5 to get Ada working due to probably a missing GNATS on the host
distribution that's required for the Ada built. I'm not even sure that all
distro's have gnats in their package list. Chapter 5 would therefore
contain instructions how to install something on the host distribution
before you can continue and I think that shouldn't be done just like that,
not without knowing what you're doing. It would be better suited in a hint
and I repeat - we want to install the entire package when possible and are
obliged to point out how to do so if the book doesn't do it. The Ada issues
requires a hint to be written to deal with the missing components.

Gerard Beekmans

-*- If Linux doesn't have the solution, you have the wrong problem -*-
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