[svlug] Problem compiling qtparted-0.5.0

Akkana Peck akkana at shallowsky.com
Thu Nov 26 11:47:07 PST 2015

+1 to everything Steve Litt said.

Steve Litt writes:
[ ... ]
> Create a kludge that solves your problem. 


A quote I saw once in an interview with Andrew Morton, which I love
to quote in my "How to fix bugs" talk:

    "One hot tip: if you spot a bug which is being ignored, send a
    completely botched fix to the mailing list. This causes
    thousands of kernel developers to rally to the cause. Nobody
    knows why this happens. (I really have deliberately done this
    several times. It works).” 

So you're in good company, Steve.

I actually do know a couple of reasons why this works:

a. Having a solution, even a bad one, makes it clear what the problem is.

b. It shows evidence that you've tried hard to solve your problem
   before posting. That helps motivate people to put in the work to
   solve the problem, for two reasons:
    i. it shows that you're not just being lazy and treating the list
       as a free consulting service, and
   ii. it suggests that the problem is a hard problem and one that
       needs a smart person to solve it.

Michael, regarding your LFS problem: you mentioned that the reason
you're using LFS is to learn more about Linux. A big part of the
learning involved in a distro built from source is learning how
build systems -- gcc, make, autoconf -- work and how to read their
error messages, and this is a perfect opportunity.

Read the error messages and figure out why they were generated.
What tool -- make, configure, gcc, or what -- generated them?
How did the program determine that qt5 was there? Did it run
some program that checked for a package, did it look for a specific
include file, did it try to compile a test file? Are there any
comments near the place where it checks that might explain why
it's doing that check?

Once you figure out what's generating the error, you can either
change the build system to tolerate qt5 (probably the right answer),
or you will know what qt5 files you need to remove so that the
build system won't see it.

Or if you just want to remove all of qt5: you installed it from
source, right? Perhaps using a command like "make install"? So you
can do that again, and see what files it installed, and that tells
you what you need to remove.

Probably no one on this list can help with any of that, given that
most people don't run LFS and don't build qtparted or qt5 from source,
and you didn't even give the error message. But poking at files and
trying to understand them is how you learn. It's how most of us
learned about Linux: we didn't take a course that magically told us
everything we needed to know about how to write C++, or how to build
a large project or write a configure.in, or how to administer an
init system. (I wish!) Most computer learning happens by reading
files and trying to understand them, by trying things and seeing
what happens, by making mistakes then trying to understand why they
happened. And if you want to understand how Linux packages are
built -- your stated reason for using LFS -- then reading those
error messages and tracing them back to see how and why they were
generated is the best way to learn.


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