the forest through the trees or my $.02

Thomas Krennwallner krennwallner at
Tue Jun 26 03:06:23 PDT 2001

On Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 12:02:48AM -0700, the boisterous
John Schmerge <schmerge at>
wrote to me:
>   1) the purpose of using xml (contary to popular belief) is not to allow for
> portability between platforms or to make data more readable (although it does
> help), but to allow a programmer to process data from a well formed file
> without having to ever write a parser for that data... alfs could be
> designed with a proprietary syntax that's parsed with flex+bison without any
> loss of portability provided that the parser module is shared between any
> programs or modules that need to pull data out of a profile. Think about it
> before responding. All XML buys you is a way of dropping in extensions to the
> syntax without having to rewrite the parser module.

100% right.

>   3) i believe it a mistake to veil the underlying syntax of a shell command
> by cluttering it with a bunch of tags... we will always have a bourne shell
> variant available. Also, we will always have an arsenal of the basic unix
> command unless alfs needs to fit on a floppy ;)

100% right. Just use eg a <build /> and the following data encapsulated in a
CDATA is a build sh script.

>   5) 99% of the build and installation process occurs from within a makefile
> which uses basic unix commands and the bourne shell. (refer to point 3)

-> I hope this makes it clear to everyone.

>   9) I'd like to see a couple of things added to the profile: namely, the
> ability to customize a profile without editing it... configuration options
> and make options most specifically.

Thats the point. More non-build tags that describes the package and let the
builder customize the package where it should be installed, crosscompiling
stuff per default, usable default configuration.

so long

  ___    Obviously we do not want to leave zombies around.
_/___\     - W. Richard Stevens
 ( ^ >
 /   \   Thomas Krennwallner <krennwallner at aon dot at>
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