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Appendix A GNU Software

This appendix describes some other GNU software used in the maintenance, design and implementation of GNU Alive. For more information about the GNU project, please visit http://www.gnu.org/.

Inetutils — http://www.gnu.org/software/inetutils/

Inetutils provides several command-line utilities for working with a network capable of speaking IP (Internet Protocol). Most relevant to GNU Alive is ‘ping’, which ‘alive’ invokes directly, to compose, send, receive and interpret the actual network (on the wire) packets; and “emulates” indirectly (i.e., sleeping and looping, as for ‘ping -i period’).

Guile — http://www.gnu.org/software/guile/

Guile provides the Scheme interpreter that actually executes the ‘alive’ script, a crucial role certainly. The design choice to use sexps for configuration items is also informed by Guile. Less known perhaps is that Guile plays a part also in the GNU Alive maintenance; e.g., several Scheme programs and modules are used to prepare its home page.

Autoconf — http://www.gnu.org/software/autoconf/
Automake — http://www.gnu.org/software/automake/

These are indispensable for maintenance. Autoconf is reponsible for the configure script, and Automake is responsible for generating the various Makefile.in files that uphold the rest of the standard GNU build/installation system.

Bash — http://www.gnu.org/software/bash/

GNU Alive writes to standard output, and thus is amenable to the parent shell’s i/o redirection facilities. We use Bash to document an example of this (see Invoking alive).

Emacs — http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/

Although Alive does not use Emacs directly, the configuration items can be easily manipulated by Emacs (see Configuration), and Emacs has good support for managing child processes, like Bash.

Why not consider writing a user interface to Alive for Emacs?


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