- Compile the entire program. This should be the default target. This
target need not rebuild any documentation files; Info files should
normally be included in the distribution, and DVI files should be made
only when explicitly asked for.
By default, the Make rules should compile and link with `-g', so
that executable programs have debugging symbols. Users who don't mind
being helpless can strip the executables later if they wish.
- Compile the program and copy the executables, libraries, and so on to
the file names where they should reside for actual use. If there is a
simple test to verify that a program is properly installed, this target
should run that test.
Do not strip executables when installing them. Devil-may-care users can
install-strip target to do that.
If possible, write the
install target rule so that it does not
modify anything in the directory where the program was built, provided
`make all' has just been done. This is convenient for building the
program under one user name and installing it under another.
The commands should create all the directories in which files are to be
installed, if they don't already exist. This includes the directories
specified as the values of the variables
exec_prefix, as well as all subdirectories that are needed.
One way to do this is by means of an
as described below.
Use `-' before any command for installing a man page, so that
make will ignore any errors. This is in case there are systems
that don't have the Unix man page documentation system installed.
The way to install Info files is to copy them into `$(infodir)'
$(INSTALL_DATA) (see section 14.3 Variables for Specifying Commands), and then run
install-info program if it is present.
is a program that edits the Info `dir' file to add or update the
menu entry for the given Info file; it is part of the Texinfo package.
Here is a sample rule to install an Info file:
# There may be a newer info file in . than in srcdir.
-if test -f foo.info; then d=.; \
else d=$(srcdir); fi; \
$(INSTALL_DATA) $$d/foo.info $(DESTDIR)$@; \
# Run install-info only if it exists.
# Use `if' instead of just prepending `-' to the
# line so we notice real errors from install-info.
# We use `$(SHELL) -c' because some shells do not
# fail gracefully when there is an unknown command.
if $(SHELL) -c 'install-info --version' \
>/dev/null 2>&1; then \
install-info --dir-file=$(DESTDIR)$(infodir)/dir \
else true; fi
When writing the
install target, you must classify all the
commands into three categories: normal ones, pre-installation
commands and post-installation commands. See section 14.6 Install Command Categories.
- Delete all the installed files--the copies that the `install'
This rule should not modify the directories where compilation is done,
only the directories where files are installed.
The uninstallation commands are divided into three categories, just like
the installation commands. See section 14.6 Install Command Categories.
install, but strip the executable files while installing
them. In simple cases, this target can use the
install target in
a simple way:
$(MAKE) INSTALL_PROGRAM='$(INSTALL_PROGRAM) -s' \
But if the package installs scripts as well as real executables, the
install-strip target can't just refer to the
target; it has to strip the executables but not the scripts.
install-strip should not strip the executables in the build
directory which are being copied for installation. It should only strip
the copies that are installed.
Normally we do not recommend stripping an executable unless you are sure
the program has no bugs. However, it can be reasonable to install a
stripped executable for actual execution while saving the unstripped
executable elsewhere in case there is a bug.
Delete all files from the current directory that are normally created by
building the program. Don't delete the files that record the
configuration. Also preserve files that could be made by building, but
normally aren't because the distribution comes with them.
Delete `.dvi' files here if they are not part of the distribution.
- Delete all files from the current directory that are created by
configuring or building the program. If you have unpacked the source
and built the program without creating any other files, `make
distclean' should leave only the files that were in the distribution.
- Like `clean', but may refrain from deleting a few files that people
normally don't want to recompile. For example, the `mostlyclean'
target for GCC does not delete `libgcc.a', because recompiling it
is rarely necessary and takes a lot of time.
- Delete almost everything from the current directory that can be
reconstructed with this Makefile. This typically includes everything
distclean, plus more: C source files produced by
Bison, tags tables, Info files, and so on.
The reason we say "almost everything" is that running the command
`make maintainer-clean' should not delete `configure' even if
`configure' can be remade using a rule in the Makefile. More generally,
`make maintainer-clean' should not delete anything that needs to
exist in order to run `configure' and then begin to build the
program. This is the only exception;
delete everything else that can be rebuilt.
The `maintainer-clean' target is intended to be used by a maintainer of
the package, not by ordinary users. You may need special tools to
reconstruct some of the files that `make maintainer-clean' deletes.
Since these files are normally included in the distribution, we don't
take care to make them easy to reconstruct. If you find you need to
unpack the full distribution again, don't blame us.
To help make users aware of this, the commands for the special
maintainer-clean target should start with these two:
@echo 'This command is intended for maintainers to use; it'
@echo 'deletes files that may need special tools to rebuild.'
- Update a tags table for this program.
- Generate any Info files needed. The best way to write the rules is as
foo.info: foo.texi chap1.texi chap2.texi
You must define the variable
MAKEINFO in the Makefile. It should
makeinfo program, which is part of the Texinfo
Normally a GNU distribution comes with Info files, and that means the
Info files are present in the source directory. Therefore, the Make
rule for an info file should update it in the source directory. When
users build the package, ordinarily Make will not update the Info files
because they will already be up to date.
- Generate DVI files for all Texinfo documentation.
foo.dvi: foo.texi chap1.texi chap2.texi
You must define the variable
TEXI2DVI in the Makefile. It should
run the program
texi2dvi, which is part of the Texinfo
write just the dependencies, and allow GNU
make to provide the command.
- Create a distribution tar file for this program. The tar file should be
set up so that the file names in the tar file start with a subdirectory
name which is the name of the package it is a distribution for. This
name can include the version number.
For example, the distribution tar file of GCC version 1.40 unpacks into
a subdirectory named `gcc-1.40'.
The easiest way to do this is to create a subdirectory appropriately
cp to install the proper files in it, and
tar that subdirectory.
Compress the tar file with
gzip. For example, the actual
distribution file for GCC version 1.40 is called `gcc-1.40.tar.gz'.
dist target should explicitly depend on all non-source files
that are in the distribution, to make sure they are up to date in the
See section `Making Releases' in GNU Coding Standards.
- Perform self-tests (if any). The user must build the program before
running the tests, but need not install the program; you should write
the self-tests so that they work when the program is built but not
The following targets are suggested as conventional names, for programs
in which they are useful.