etags crashes, ctags not

Darryl Okahata Darryl Okahata <>
Tue, 27 Feb 2001 14:15:05 -0800 (Robert Graham Merkel) wrote:

> I can't speak for anyone else, but I think having a tags file is very
> useful, and IIRC it's a very small part of the time required to do the
> build.

     Oh, certainly.  It's definitely useful.  However:

* It's certainly not needed to build gnucash.

* Many people who build gnucash, do so because they just want to install
  it (linux is not the entire world), and have no interest in being a
  gnucash developer.

* Few other projects (that use configure/autoconf) do anything similar.

> By the way, what's better about cscope?

     Not only will cscope tell you where something is defined (which is
what ctags/etags will do), but cscope can also do:

* Show all occurrences of a symbol.

* Show functions called by a function.

* Show functions calling a function.

* Text string searches.

* Regexp searches.

* Locating a file (good for nasty/large projects with lots of

* List files that #include a file.

Once search results are displayed, you can then press a key to use your
favorite editor to edit files.

     It's also fairly fast (especially if you use AT&T lex instead of
flex when building cscope).  On my old/slow HP-UX workstation, I can
search 1000+ files in 50+ directories in under 30 seconds (after the
first search, once everything's cached in memory by HP-UX, searches take
under two seconds).  This covers ~1.8 million lines of C/C++ code
(including comments and blank lines, though), with a cscope database of
around 18.5MB.  This is using cscope built with AT&T lex, though (cscope
built using flex takes around five times longer).

     By default, cscope has a terminal/full-screen interface, but can
also be used under Emacs/XEmacs (I have to admit that I wrote the XEmacs
interface for it).  However, cscope also has a line-oriented mode
(perfect for scripting or interfacing to your favorite editor), where
the results are displayed in a simple form (somewhat similar to that of
grep(1) output).

[ Cscope isn't perfect, however.  For example, among other issues, it
  doesn't recognize function definitions with a function pointer
  argument.  ]

	Darryl Okahata

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