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GNU gnulib: gnulib-tool has become much faster

Item posted by Bruno Haible <haible> on Fri 26 Apr 2024 10:12:40 AM UTC.

If you are developer on a package that uses GNU gnulib as part of its build system:

gnulib-tool has been known for being slow for many years. We have listened to your complaints. We have rewritten gnulib-tool in another programming language (Python). It is between 8 times and 100 times faster than the previous implementation.

Both implementations behave identically, that is, produce the same generated files and the same output. Nothing changes in your way to use Gnulib; it's only faster.

In order to reap the new speed:

1. Make sure you have Python (version 3.7 or newer) installed on your machine.

2. Update your gnulib checkout. (For some packages, it comes as a git submodule named 'gnulib'.) Like this:

  $ git checkout master
  $ git pull

  Set the environment variable GNULIB_SRCDIR, pointing to this checkout.

  If the package is using a git submodule named 'gnulib', it is also advisable to do

  $ git commit -m 'build: Update gnulib submodule to latest.' gnulib

  (as a preparation for step 4, because the --no-git option does not work as expected in all variants of 'bootstrap').

3. Clean the built files of your package:

  $ make -k distclean


4. Regenerate the fetched and generated files of your package. Depending on the package, this may be a command such as

  $ ./bootstrap --no-git --gnulib-srcdir=$GNULIB_SRCDIR

  or

  $ export GNULIB_SRCDIR; ./autopull.sh; ./autogen.sh

  or, if no such script is available:

  $ $GNULIB_SRCDIR/gnulib-tool --update


5. Continue with

  $ ./configure
  $ make

  as usual.

Enjoy! The rewritten gnulib-tool was implemented by Dmitry Selyutin, Collin Funk, and me.

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