DIST(7) - Linux man page online | Overview, conventions, and miscellany

Introduction to dist.

DIST(7) Miscellaneous Information Manual DIST(7)


dist - introduction to dist


The dist package is a set of tools meant to ease the construction and maintenance of por‐ table software. There are four distinct parts in dist, and it is also meant to be used with two external products, which are publicly available: mailagent and patch. The first component is the Configure script generator, which is a portability tool. It is automatically build up by metaconfig from your sources and a set of units. Ideally, the end-user receiving your source code will simply have to read your README file, run the Configure script (which is self-documented), and then run make. Your package should then build cleanly on every UNIX platform. The second component is the Makefile.SH generator, which is a generic configured Makefile, reusing some of the information figured out by Configure. Although you may write your own Makefile and then use makeSH to transform it into a Makefile.SH, it is better to write a generic Jmakefile description, which does not rely on a particular position within the source tree, and then use jmake to recursively build your Makefiles. The third component is the package generator, which is used when it's time to build up the shell archives used to distribute your program. Although you may use your own archiving mechanism, the one included here knows about RCS files and will properly check out the lattest revisions, leaving your working files alone. The makedist program will also per‐ form Copyright expansion, an useful feature when you share source files among more than one program, placed under distinct Copyright information. The fourth and latest component is the patch generator, used to make updates of your sources, which can later be applied on the original distribution by using the patch pro‐ gram. Before using any of the dist programs, you should probably identify your package by run‐ ning the packinit program, which will create a .package file in the top-level directory of your package.


The dist package implements the following commands (those tagged as library commands are to be found in the dist library and should not be made publicly available in everyone's path): bindex builds the Index file (library). jmake a Makefile.SH generator. jmkmf bootstraps top-level Makefile.SH file. kitpost posts distribution kits made by makedist. kitsend sends distribution kits made by makedist. makeSH wraps existing scripts into a .SH file. makedist builds up distribution kits. makegloss builds the Glossary file (library). manicheck checks accuracy manifake makes out of an existing MANIFEST. manilist builds reports. metaconfig a Configure script generator. metalint a metaconfig unit consistency checker. metaxref a metaconfig cross-reference builder. packinit initializes a package (creates a .package file). pat main patch generator. patbase resets patch base to current version. patcil checks new version in. patclean remove working version of up-to-date files. patcol checks file out. patdiff builds (contextual) diffs for the patch. patftp copies patches to public ftp directory. patindex builds a patch index. patlog handles ChangeLog file updates. patmake puts diffs together into a patch. patnotify notifies users that new patches have been released. patpost posts patch to some newsgroup. patsend mails patch to some people. patsnap builds a release snapshot with files and RCS revisions.


Commands having a set of meaningful options (other than -h or -V) can also take arguments from the ~/.dist_profile file, or whatever file the DIST environment variable points to. Each line of the file is in the format: profile-component: value with shell-style comments (#) allowed provided they start the line. Each command looks for a profile component entry matching its name and loads the value as if it were arguments specified on the command line. Those arguments precede any other argument specified manually, in case order is meaningful. Some commands may also be configured from within the profile, by setting a specific vari‐ able attached to the command by a profile entry looking like this: cmdname-variable: value For instance, assuming the variable c-files is recognized by the metaconfig program, its default value could be overwritten by this profile entry: metaconfig-c-files: suitable value Only the first '-' after the command name is part of the syntax, the other one used in the variable name is pure convention. Please refer to the manual page of each command for a list of valid profile variables which may be set.


.MT Temporary directory created by metaconfig and friends. .newer A list of files newer than patchlevel.h, used by the patching tools. .package Main configuration file used by most of the dist tools to make them smart. ChangeLog The file where changes are recorded. Its name may be configured by running packinit, but this is the default "generic" name under which it is referred to within the documentation. Configure The generated configuration script. Glossary A list of all the known portability symbols known by metaconfig. This file is located in the dist library directory. I.fui Cross-reference file generated by metaxref, sorted by file, unit, item. I.uif Cross-reference file generated by metaxref, sorted by unit, item, file. Index A list of all the rules known by jmake. This file is located in the dist library directory. Jmakefile Generic makefile description used by jmake. MANIFEST List of all the files to be included in the distribution. Usually a copy (not a link) of List of all the files to be taken into account by the dist tools. Makefile.SH The generated configured makefile (via Jmakefile) or hand-generated Make‐ file making use of known metaconfig symbols. Obsolete A list of obsolete symbol used and their new equivalents. RCS Directory where RCS files are stored. README Main file explaining how to build your package. U Private unit directory. Wanted File used by metaconfig, listing all the symbols used by the sources. bugs Directory where patches are stored. check.extra Extra files present in, generated by manicheck. check.want Missing files from, generated by manicheck. config_h.SH Generated config.h template. confmagic.h Magic symbol remapping, activated via metaconfig's -M option. hints This directory lists all the configuration hints for your package. patchlevel.h File recording your package patch level, should not be part of MANI‐, but may be listed in MANIFEST, at your discretion. users File recording the users of your package, generated by mailagent's package command (see the MailAuthor.U unit and mailagent 3.0).


The following environment variable is paid attention to: DIST Location of the dist profile, defaults to ~/.dist_profile. This variable is subject to ~name substitution, even if your shell does not support it.


By chronological order: Larry Wall <> (dist 2.0 in 1988) Harlan Stenn <> (worked on dist 3.0 1990-1992) Raphael Manfredi <> (dist 3.0 and integration 1991-1995) Please look at the Credits file in the distribution source tree for a list of all the known contributors.


jmake(1), metaconfig(1), pat(1).
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