In July 1992, after months of alpha testing, I released Autoconf 1.0,
and converted many GNU packages to use it. I was surprised by how
positive the reaction to it was. More people started using it than I
could keep track of, including people working on software that wasn't
part of the GNU Project (such as TCL, FSP, and Kerberos V5). Autoconf
continued to improve rapidly, as many people using the `configure'
scripts reported problems they encountered.
Autoconf turned out to be a good torture test for `m4'
implementations. UNIX `m4' started to dump core because of the length
of the macros that Autoconf defined, and several bugs showed up in GNU
`m4' as well. Eventually, we realized that we needed to use some
features that only GNU `m4' has. 4.3BSD `m4', in particular, has an
impoverished set of builtin macros; the System V version is better, but
still doesn't provide everything we need.
More development occurred as people put Autoconf under more stresses
(and to uses I hadn't anticipated). Karl Berry added checks for X11.
david zuhn contributed C++ support. Franc,ois Pinard made it diagnose
invalid arguments. Jim Blandy bravely coerced it into configuring GNU
Emacs, laying the groundwork for several later improvements. Roland
McGrath got it to configure the GNU C Library, wrote the `autoheader'
script to automate the creation of C header file templates, and added a
`--verbose' option to `configure'. Noah Friedman added the
`--macrodir' option and `AC_MACRODIR' environment variable. (He also
coined the term "autoconfiscate" to mean "adapt a software package to
use Autoconf".) Roland and Noah improved the quoting protection in
`AC_DEFINE' and fixed many bugs, especially when I got sick of dealing
with portability problems from February through June, 1993.
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