[webkit-gtk] Announcement: you shouldn't use build-webkit for creating builds intended for release tarballs

Žan Doberšek zandobersek at gmail.com
Wed Dec 12 09:20:09 PST 2012

Hi all,

as of r137270[1] the build-webkit script is only intended for building
development builds. These are mostly used by the WebKitGTK+ developers and
are built continuously on the buildbot. Building through the build-webkit
scripts enables many features that are considered unstable and/or are under
either active or inactive development. These features are not intended for
wide-spread use (yet), but are enabled in the development builds for
offering test coverage to the developers implementing them.

We strongly encourage anyone who's creating release tarballs (either stable
or unstable) to not use the build-webkit script as we now rely on it to
generate a GNUmakefile.features.am makefile[2] (through autogen.sh) that is
then tailored specifically for the development builds and as such is not
suitable for the inclusion in the release tarball (where it would
eventually end up).

You can still enable or disable features for your release tarballs as you
please, but you should do so cautiously. Exposing a feature that is not yet
stable or is even in danger of being removed can cause anger in your users
when the feature changes or disappears in your later releases. The
WebKitGTK+ developers take special care in deciding which features they
enable by default just so we can avoid aforementioned situations.

When not using build-webkit, features can be enabled or disabled in two
different ways, depending on whether the feature introduces an external
- if it does, the feature can be enabled/disabled through a configuration
flag passed to the configure script,
- if it does not, the feature can be enabled/disabled by overriding the
default feature define value that's placed in Source/WebCore/

The build-webkit script handles this automatically, but again, the use of
it is discouraged if you're creating a build intended for a release tarball.

Best wishes to all,

[1] http://trac.webkit.org/changeset/137270
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