remove intl/ directory?

Eric Gallager
Mon Jun 20 19:45:56 GMT 2022

On Sat, Jun 18, 2022 at 1:01 PM Bruno Haible <> wrote:
> Hi,
> As the long-term GNU gettext maintainer, I would suggest to remove the intl/
> directory from the GCC distribution.
> The effect for the users would be:
>   * On systems without glibc, users who want an internationalized GCC
>     installation would have to install GNU gettext first. Then the GCC
>     binaries would be linked with the shared library
>     (unless gettext was built with --disable-shared); they would no longer
>     contain the libintl code in 'cc1', 'cc1plus', etc.
>   * On systems with glibc, no change.
> The effect for the GCC maintainers would be:
>   * Easier to stay up-to-date with upstream libintl.
>   * Less maintenance work with *.m4 files such as
>       codeset.m4
>       glibc21.m4
>       intdiv0.m4
>       inttypes_h.m4
>       inttypes.m4
>       inttypes-pri.m4
>       lcmessage.m4
>       stdint_h.m4
>       uintmax_t.m4
>       ulonglong.m4
>   * Reduced risk of a CVE that would impact GCC binaries.
> Rationale:
>   * This intl/ code is from 2003; of course several bugs have been
>     fixed in it over the last 19 years.
>   * At that time GNU packages were still favouring static libraries.
>     GNU libtool became widely reliable only about in 2005.
>   * Since then, distros have been favouring shared libraries over
>     static libraries, in order to be able to fix CVEs without
>     rebuilding many dependent binaries.
>   * For this reason, GNU gettext removed the support for this way
>     of packaging libintl in version 0.20 (May 2019). The NEWS entry
>     said:
>     - The --intl option of the gettextize program (deprecated since 2010) is
>       no longer available. Instead of including the intl sources in your
>       package, we suggest making the libintl library an optional prerequisite
>       of your package. This will simplify the build system of your package.
>     - Accordingly, the Autoconf macro AM_GNU_GETTEXT_INTL_SUBDIR is gone
>       as well.
> This point came up while discussing with Eric Gallager, who is working on
> the GCC configury.

Hi, just for some additional context for anyone reading from the
archives, but this conversation came out of autoconf sr #110324:
My work can be seen in the
refs/users/egallager/heads/autotools-tinkering branch, which I'm also
mirroring on GitHub here:
The latest pending patch I've submitted from this branch is here:
As for the underlying topic of this thread, personally I see removing
the intl/ subdirectory as just one possible solution to the issue of
its autoconf macros being outdated, the other would be to fix
autoupdate so that it can handle things properly, but I can see how
that would be harder. Whichever solution turns out to be the simplest
for everyone involved will be the one I'll support.

> I don't volunteer to implement this suggestion, but I can give advice where
> needed.
> Bruno

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