Parrot's build process and "make install"

Hildo Biersma hildo.biersma at
Thu Jul 9 00:00:29 UTC 2009

I'd like to second this.  I work in a company that runs applications
from a network filesystem, with the interesting property that the
install location is not the same as the runtime location. (Making
something available involves taking a snapshot of the install tree and
then mounting a read-only copy in a different location.)

We've had no end of trouble with applications that compile/relink
during the install phase (especially if libtool is involved).   For
exanple,  we really need to be able to set the RPATH to be different
from the install path.  Applications that create a build tree that
looks like the install tree, and then just copy those files during the
install phase, tend to work much better in our environment.

What Patrick is proposing, if done right, will make our life much
easier.  And if it helps us, it'll help other people too.


On Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 5:57 PM, Patrick R. Michaud<pmichaud at> wrote:
> At yesterday's #parrotsketch we briefly summarized where things
> are with Parrot's build and install process, and I indicated
> that I'd summarize a list of things to be done and throw a lot
> of tuits at the problem this week.
> The list of things to be done summary is below.  But in thinking
> about the issues further I've decided that I'm probably not going to be
> able to throw as many tuits at is as I had originally thought, so
> I'm hoping others can step in and pick up the tasks.
> (This might mean the build/install refactors don't make it into the
> 1.4 release; I'm okay with that if others are.  If others aren't
> okay with it not being done before 1.4, then "Thanks for volunteering!" :-)
> So, where things stand now:  First, there are quite a few tickets
> in trac dealing with overall build, configuration, and install
> issues.  I reviewed this list, closed a few, and placed the
> remaining tickets in the "install" component.  You can likely
> see the full list via the following query:
> I particularly recommend TT #649 -- Andy Dougherty has collected
> a useful summary of parrot config and install issues there.
> Indeed, I tend to add a +1 to everything Andy has written on this
> subject.
> Where things need to go from here:  At PVMW, YAPC::NA, and in
> conversations on #parrotsketch, there seems to be widespread
> agreement that Parrot's "make" target really should create
> something that looks a lot more like an install (or install-dev)
> tree.  Then the "make install" and "make install-dev" targets end
> up doing something more like a copy than what they currently do
> (which iiuc is "build new (untested!) executables and install those").
> In particular, I feel fairly strongly that the parrot executable
> that gets built should _not_ be reading any of its files that it
> uses from their original source locations.  For example, a parrot
> executable should never read things from runtime/parrot/library/
> in the build tree.  Instead, just like an installed parrot,
> the newly should use (versiondir)/library/ but have (versiondir)
> point to the pre-install image of the build.
> It also concerns me that "make test" doesn't really test
> a parrot installation, or even anything that looks close to one.
> Instead it tests the execution of things as they exist in their
> build locations.  Switching "make test" to test something that looks
> more like an install would help us avoid problems arising from
> missing/misconfigured components in the install tree.
> One of the benefits of a refactor like this should be that we no
> longer need separate "build" versus "install" parrot_config values,
> as we have now (TT #649).  Instead the config values for most libraries
> and other support files would remain the same, with only the
> prefix changing for installed versus build-tree copies of
> the files.
> One approach might be to rearrange the structure of Parrot's
> source tree itself so that it mimics the structure of an installed
> Parrot.  IMO this should come about in a second round of refactoring,
> if at all -- many of the existing build tools depend on the current
> source tree structure and changing those would seem to be "too big
> a leap" for one refactor.  But I wouldn't object to someone trying
> that approach if it seems easier.
> There are some other issues that also have to be addressed in
> order for HLLs like Rakudo to effectively be able to compile
> and run from an installed Parrot -- I'll summarize those in
> a separate email or ticket, as we'd _really_ like those to be
> addressed for 1.4.0 .  This message is really intended to provide
> a basis for anyone that wants to work on substantially cleaning
> up and improving Parrot's overall build/install process itself.
> And now that I've studied up on the issues a bit further, I'll
> be glad to provide quick answers to anyone who might chose to
> work in this area.  My answers might end up being incorrect
> answers that are quickly overruled by the Parrot architect,
> but at least you'll have quick answers to be working from.  :-)
> Thanks!
> Pm
> _______________________________________________

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