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GNU Make TODO List
This list comes both from the authors and from users of GNU make.
They are listed in no particular order!
Also, I don't gaurantee that all of them will be ultimately deemed "good
ideas" and implemented. These are just the ones that, at first blush,
seem to have some merit (and that I can remember).
However, if you see something here you really, really want, speak up.
All other things being equal, I will tend to implement things that seem
to maximize user satisfaction.
If you want to implement some of them yourself, barring the ones I've
marked below, have at it! Please contact me first to let me know you're
working on it, and give me some info about the design--and, critically,
information about any user-visible syntax change, etc.
The Top Item
If you know perl (or want to learn DejaGNU or similar), the number one
priority on my list of things I don't have time to do right now is
fixing up the GNU make test suite. Most importantly it needs to be made
"parallelizable", so more than one regression can run at the same time
(essentially, make the "work" directory local). Also, the CWD during
the test should be in the work directory; right now sometimes tests leak
files into the main directory which causes subsequent tests to fail
(some tests may need to be tweaked). Beyond that, any cleanup done to
make writing, reading, or handling tests simpler would be great! Please
feel free to make whatever changes you like to the current tests, given
some high-level goals, and that you'll port the current tests to
whatever you do :).
The Rest of the List
1) Allow variables/functions to expand to other make rules which are
then interpreted, with newlines handled correctly. This is a
biggee, and is on my plate. I already have partially-working code.
2) Option to check more than timestamps to determine if targets have
changed. This is also a very big one. It's _close_ to my plate :),
and I have very definite ideas about how I want it done. Please
pick something else unless you must have this feature. If you try
it, please work _extremely_ closely with me on it.
2a) Possibly a special case of this is the .KEEP_STATE feature of Sun's
make. Some great folks at W U. in Canada did an implementation of
this for a class project. Their approach is reasonable and
workable, but doesn't really fit into my ideas for #2. Maybe
that's OK. I have paperwork for their work so if you want to do
this one talk to me to get what they've already done.
[K R Praveen <>]
3) Currently you can use " : %.baz" to mean that one
invocation of the rule builds both targets. GNU make needs a way to
do that for explicit rules, too. I heard a rumor that some versions
of make all you to say " + : a.baz" to do this (i.e., a
"+" means one invocation builds both). Don't know if this is the
best syntax or not... what if you say " + a.bam : a.baz";
what does that mean?
4) Multi-token pattern rule matching (allow %1/%2.c : %1/obj/%2.o,
etc., or something like that). I have an implementation of this
already, it just needs some refinement... maybe. Additionally I
think it only works for static pattern rules; it might need to be
fixed up to work with normal pattern rules, too.
5) More robust clock skew detection algorithm: less false hits. I have
some notes on this from various discussions.
6) Provide MAKETARGETS and MAKEVARIABLES variables, containing the
names of the targets and variables defined in the makefile.
Actually, I now think a $(targets ...) function, at least, would be
better than a MAKETARGETS variable. The argument would be types of
targets to list: "phony" is the most useful one. I suppose
"default" might also be useful. Maybe some others; check the
bitfields to see what might be handy. This one is pretty easy.
7) Some sort of operating-system independent way of handling paths
would be outstanding, so makefiles can be written for UNIX, VMS,
DOS, MS-Windows, Amiga, etc. with a minimum of specialization.
Or, perhaps related/instead of, some sort of meta-quoting syntax so
make can deal with filenames containing spaces, colons, etc. I
dunno, maybe something like $[...]? This may well not be worth
doing until #1 is done.
psuedo-targets have different capabilities. For example, .PRECIOUS
can take a "%", the others can't. Etc. These should all work the
same, insofar as that makes sense.
10) A syntax that specifies a build order _without_ implying a
dependency relationship. That is, a way to say "A must be built
before B" that doesn't force B to be built when A changes. This is
very important for parallel builds: sometimes you need some stuff
done first but you don't want to rebuild everything because of it.
11) Improved debugging/logging/etc. capabilities. This area is in
desparate need of work; the current -d, -s, etc. options are simply
insufficient. We need different levels of output: some that are
much less verbose. E.g., maybe just print one line about why make
decides to rebuild each target. Also, we could use something like
the -E option for preprocessors; this would print out makefiles
after resolving all includes, immediate variable reverences, etc.
Also, a way to turn on and off obeying the "@" token for scripts
that's independent of -n (so we could have them in effect for -n,
and have them not in effect without -n).
Maybe other things. Contact me about the user interface.