[petsc-dev] [Suggestion] Configure QOL Improvements

Faibussowitsch, Jacob jfaibussowitsch at anl.gov
Wed Oct 23 10:24:46 CDT 2019

Hello All,

How feasible would it be to accept user input during the configure process when installing a new package using —download-package when the dependency is missing? For example say you are configuring with the following options:

./configure —download-pragmatic

Which depends on Metis, so halfway through configure you will receive the following error:

         UNABLE to CONFIGURE with GIVEN OPTIONS    (see configure.log for details):
Did not find package METIS needed by pragmatic.
Enable the package using --with-metis or --download-metis

Why can’t there instead be a prompt that states “[Package] depends on [Dependency], would you like to also download [Dependency] (y , n)?” whenever PETSc detects that you are missing a dependency. Configure would then restart from the appropriate section (wherever that may be) in the configuration process instead of all the way from the beginning. Use case for this would be for configuring on systems such as Theta where the configure process takes roughly 13.772 billion years to complete. Having to restart from the beginning every time is tedious. 

As I am largely unfamiliar with the internals of the configure process, this is potentially more of an involved change than I am imagining, given that many libraries likely have many small dependencies and hooks which have to be set throughout the configuration process, and so its possible not everything could be skipped. 



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