Problem with configuring Xapian

Olly Betts olly at
Thu Aug 4 06:17:37 BST 2016

On Wed, Aug 03, 2016 at 01:42:04PM +0100, James Aylett wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 03, 2016 at 04:56:36PM +0530, Amanda Jayanetti wrote:
> > I have installed all the dependencies specified in xapian-core HACKING file
> > including libtool. But I still get the following error when XO_LIB_XAPIAN
> > is added to,
> > 
> > error: defn: undefined macro: LT_INIT
> > aclocal.m4:43: XO_LIB_XAPIAN is expanded from...
> > the top level
> > autom4te: /usr/bin/m4 failed with exit status: 1
> > 
> > Could anyone tell me what I might be missing?
> So the problem is that XO_LIB_XAPIAN is trying to access the libtool
> macros. Olly may be able to help here; we don't want to turn this into
> a libtool-based project (that doesn't seem to play nicely with R).

It's actually a bug in XO_LIB_XAPIAN with newer versions of GNU m4 (the
macro language which autoconf is built on).  Older versions of m4
apparently quietly handled defn([FOO]) even when FOO wasn't defined, but
newer versions fail (I can't find mention of this in the changelog or
NEWS file for m4, but the autoconf manual says it's the case).

Fixed in git master by ec3912d0058a6f25401ac3da35dd295d6a7cb95a and
RELEASE/1.4 by fe29467a005653264575a0f46ffcc2374b4e42cc.

I'll probably backport it to the next 1.2.x release (if there is one).

Amanda: For now you can just patch your install xapian.m4 as per that


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