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configure-less Perl builds

It's that time again.

Building on Ilya's experimental patches, I've managed to produce a
`crazyperl' which builds on as many systems as I've got handy, out of
the box, without any configuration stage at all. Weeee!

(I'll make the patch available by FTP at
since it's a bit big to include here.)

The next stage, of course, is to produce a version of Configure in perl
so we can bootstrap the whole process without those nasty dependencies
on awk, sed, grep and stuff.

Anyway, I started the port of Configure today (Sorry, Sarathy, I know I
said I wouldn't do this yet, but work got boring :) and am about 10% of
the way through. However, I'm running into some interesting `issues'. 

As the patch stands, it sacrifices everything for portability.
`Everything' here currently includes things like opendir(), which is
nasty. (but not insurmountable) The reason is, I'm not sure what we can
sensibly assume - if anything - that a C library will give us. And if I
want opendir() should I bank on there being a dirent.h, or should we
implement it ourselves? In fact, how much of the C library are we
prepared to provide ourselves in order to get it up and working?

Oh, and general comments on the whole thing welcome.

"Everything's working, try again in half an hour."-chorus.net tech

Follow-Ups from:
Andy Dougherty <doughera@lafayette.edu>
Nick Ing-Simmons <nik@tiuk.ti.com>

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