The GNU make utility automatically determines which pieces of a
large program need to be recompiled, and issues the commands to
This edition of the GNU Make Manual,
last updated 08 July 2002,
documents GNU make Version 3.80.
This manual describes make and contains the following chapters:
1. Overview of make
2. An Introduction to Makefiles An introduction to make.
3. Writing Makefiles Makefiles tell make what to do.
4. Writing Rules Rules describe when a file must be remade.
5. Writing the Commands in Rules Commands say how to remake a file.
6. How to Use Variables You can use variables to avoid repetition.
7. Conditional Parts of Makefiles Use or ignore parts of the makefile based
on the values of variables.
8. Functions for Transforming Text Many powerful ways to manipulate text.
9. How to Run make How to invoke make on the command line.
10. Using Implicit Rules Use implicit rules to treat many files alike,
based on their file names.
11. Using make to Update Archive Files How make can update library archives.
12. Features of GNU make Features GNU make has over other makes.
13. Incompatibilities and Missing Features What GNU make lacks from other makes.
14. Makefile Conventions Conventions for writing makefiles for
A. Quick Reference A quick reference for experienced users.
B. Errors Generated by Make A list of common errors generated by make.
C. Complex Makefile Example A real example of a straightforward,
but nontrivial, makefile.
D. GNU Free Documentation License License for copying this manual
Index of Concepts
Index of Functions, Variables, & Directives
-- The Detailed Node Listing ---
Overview of make
Preparing and Running Make
1.1 How to Read This Manual On Reading this Text
1.2 Problems and Bugs
An Introduction to Makefiles
2.1 What a Rule Looks Like What a rule looks like.
2.2 A Simple Makefile
2.3 How make Processes a Makefile How make Processes This Makefile
2.4 Variables Make Makefiles Simpler
2.5 Letting make Deduce the Commands
2.6 Another Style of Makefile
2.7 Rules for Cleaning the Directory
3.1 What Makefiles Contain What makefiles contain.
3.2 What Name to Give Your Makefile How to name your makefile.
3.3 Including Other Makefiles How one makefile can use another makefile.
3.4 The Variable MAKEFILES The environment can specify extra makefiles.
3.5 The Variable MAKEFILE_LIST Discover which makefiles have been read.
3.6 Other Special Variables Other special variables.
3.7 How Makefiles Are Remade How makefiles get remade.
3.8 Overriding Part of Another Makefile How to override part of one makefile
with another makefile.
3.9 How make Reads a Makefile How makefiles are parsed.
4.1 Rule Example An example explained.
4.2 Rule Syntax General syntax explained.
4.3 Types of Prerequisites There are two types of prerequisites.
4.4 Using Wildcard Characters in File Names Using wildcard characters such as `*'.
4.5 Searching Directories for Prerequisites Searching other directories for source files.
4.6 Phony Targets Using a target that is not a real file's name.
4.7 Rules without Commands or Prerequisites You can use a target without commands
or prerequisites to mark other
targets as phony.
4.8 Empty Target Files to Record Events When only the date matters and the
files are empty.
4.9 Special Built-in Target Names Targets with special built-in meanings.
4.10 Multiple Targets in a Rule When to make use of several targets in a rule.
4.11 Multiple Rules for One Target How to use several rules with the same target.
4.12 Static Pattern Rules Static pattern rules apply to multiple targets
and can vary the prerequisites according to
the target name.
4.13 Double-Colon Rules How to use a special kind of rule to allow
several independent rules for one target.
4.14 Generating Prerequisites Automatically How to automatically generate rules giving
prerequisites from source files themselves.
Using Wildcard Characters in File Names
4.4.1 Wildcard Examples Several examples
4.4.2 Pitfalls of Using Wildcards Problems to avoid.
4.4.3 The Function wildcard How to cause wildcard expansion where
it does not normally take place.
Searching Directories for Prerequisites
4.5.1 VPATH: Search Path for All Prerequisites Specifying a search path that applies
to every prerequisite.
4.5.2 The vpath Directive Specifying a search path
for a specified class of names.
4.5.3 How Directory Searches are Performed When and how search paths are applied.
4.5.4 Writing Shell Commands with Directory Search How to write shell commands that work together
with search paths.
4.5.5 Directory Search and Implicit Rules How search paths affect implicit rules.
4.5.6 Directory Search for Link Libraries Directory search for link libraries.
Static Pattern Rules
4.12.1 Syntax of Static Pattern Rules The syntax of static pattern rules.
4.12.2 Static Pattern Rules versus Implicit Rules When are they better than implicit rules?
Writing the Commands in Rules
5.1 Command Echoing How to control when commands are echoed.
5.2 Command Execution How commands are executed.
5.3 Parallel Execution How commands can be executed in parallel.
5.4 Errors in Commands What happens after a command execution error.
5.5 Interrupting or Killing make What happens when a command is interrupted.
5.6 Recursive Use of make Invoking make from makefiles.
5.7 Defining Canned Command Sequences Defining canned sequences of commands.
5.8 Using Empty Commands Defining useful, do-nothing commands.
Recursive Use of make
5.6.1 How the MAKE Variable Works The special effects of using `$(MAKE)'.
5.6.2 Communicating Variables to a Sub-make How to communicate variables to a sub-make.
5.6.3 Communicating Options to a Sub-make How to communicate options to a sub-make.
5.6.4 The `--print-directory' Option How the `-w' or `--print-directory' option
helps debug use of recursive make commands.
How to Use Variables
6.1 Basics of Variable References How to use the value of a variable.
6.2 The Two Flavors of Variables Variables come in two flavors.
6.3 Advanced Features for Reference to Variables Advanced features for referencing a variable.
6.4 How Variables Get Their Values All the ways variables get their values.
6.5 Setting Variables How to set a variable in the makefile.
6.6 Appending More Text to Variables How to append more text to the old value
of a variable.
6.7 The override Directive How to set a variable in the makefile even if
the user has set it with a command argument.
6.8 Defining Variables Verbatim An alternate way to set a variable
to a verbatim string.
6.9 Variables from the Environment Variable values can come from the environment.
6.10 Target-specific Variable Values Variable values can be defined on a per-target
6.11 Pattern-specific Variable Values Target-specific variable values can be applied
to a group of targets that match a pattern.
Advanced Features for Reference to Variables
6.3.1 Substitution References Referencing a variable with
substitutions on the value.
6.3.2 Computed Variable Names Computing the name of the variable to refer to.
Conditional Parts of Makefiles
7.1 Example of a Conditional Example of a conditional
7.2 Syntax of Conditionals The syntax of conditionals.
7.3 Conditionals that Test Flags Conditionals that test flags.
Functions for Transforming Text
8.1 Function Call Syntax How to write a function call.
8.2 Functions for String Substitution and Analysis General-purpose text manipulation functions.
8.3 Functions for File Names Functions for manipulating file names.
8.4 The foreach Function Repeat some text with controlled variation.
8.5 The if Function Conditionally expand a value.
8.6 The call Function Expand a user-defined function.
8.7 The value Function Return the un-expanded value of a variable.
8.8 The eval Function Evaluate the arguments as makefile syntax.
8.9 The origin Function Find where a variable got its value.
8.10 The shell Function Substitute the output of a shell command.
8.11 Functions That Control Make Functions that control how make runs.
How to Run make
9.1 Arguments to Specify the Makefile How to specify which makefile to use.
9.2 Arguments to Specify the Goals How to use goal arguments to specify which
parts of the makefile to use.
9.3 Instead of Executing the Commands How to use mode flags to specify what
kind of thing to do with the commands
in the makefile other than simply
9.4 Avoiding Recompilation of Some Files How to avoid recompiling certain files.
9.5 Overriding Variables How to override a variable to specify
an alternate compiler and other things.
9.6 Testing the Compilation of a Program How to proceed past some errors, to
9.7 Summary of Options
Using Implicit Rules
10.1 Using Implicit Rules How to use an existing implicit rule
to get the commands for updating a file.
10.2 Catalogue of Implicit Rules A list of built-in implicit rules.
10.3 Variables Used by Implicit Rules How to change what predefined rules do.
10.4 Chains of Implicit Rules How to use a chain of implicit rules.
10.5 Defining and Redefining Pattern Rules How to define new implicit rules.
10.6 Defining Last-Resort Default Rules How to defining commands for rules
which cannot find any.
10.7 Old-Fashioned Suffix Rules The old-fashioned style of implicit rule.
10.8 Implicit Rule Search Algorithm The precise algorithm for applying
Defining and Redefining Pattern Rules
10.5.1 Introduction to Pattern Rules An introduction to pattern rules.
10.5.2 Pattern Rule Examples Examples of pattern rules.
10.5.3 Automatic Variables How to use automatic variables in the
commands of implicit rules.
10.5.4 How Patterns Match How patterns match.
10.5.5 Match-Anything Pattern Rules Precautions you should take prior to
defining rules that can match any
target file whatever.
10.5.6 Canceling Implicit Rules How to override or cancel built-in rules.
Using make to Update Archive Files
11.1 Archive Members as Targets Archive members as targets.
11.2 Implicit Rule for Archive Member Targets The implicit rule for archive member targets.
11.3 Dangers When Using Archives Dangers to watch out for when using archives.
11.4 Suffix Rules for Archive Files You can write a special kind of suffix rule
for updating archives.
Implicit Rule for Archive Member Targets
11.2.1 Updating Archive Symbol Directories How to update archive symbol directories.
14.1 General Conventions for Makefiles
14.2 Utilities in Makefiles
14.3 Variables for Specifying Commands
14.4 Variables for Installation Directories
14.5 Standard Targets for Users
14.6 Install Command Categories Three categories of commands in the `install'
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