Haoyu Tan’s code library. Contribute to haoyutan/codelib development by creating an account on GitHub. Autotools: a practitioner’s guide to Autoconf, Automake and Libtool. by John Calcote – Chapter 1: A brief introduction to the GNU Autotools. by John . There are few people who would deny that Autoconf, Automake and Libtool have revolutionized the free software world. While there are many thousands of.

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Perhaps he’s always simply copied one configure. The Goat Book is written in a very non-linear fashion, so it’s difficult to learn anything from it.

As each recipe is mastered, the reader makes small gude leaps–I call them minor epiphanies. Many of them have a fairly solid understanding of the Autotools by now, but at what expense in time and effort did they gain this understanding? The project is built on principles taken from these two documents. I understood the theory, but I had trouble with the homework.

The purpose of the Autotools is guidee make life simpler for the end-user. His authors wouldn’t finish the project, and the publisher’s market analysis indicated that there was very little interest in the book. Pick up the manuals.

The details will become clear later. Put enough of these under your belt and overall mastery of the Autotools is ultimately inevitable. It presents some fundamental tenets upon which the design of each of the Autotools is based. And that’s only sourceforge. You need a solid understanding of the tools upon which the Autotools are built in order to become proficient with the Autotools themselves. The Autotools manuals are well-written and concise, but more importantly, they’re complete.


Dozens of changes were made incrementally over a period of years, until the script would work properly on practitiojer systems anyone cared about.

They’re free, and links are provided in the References section of this book, but they’re easy to find with a simple internet query. It’s very easy to type make –but that’s not the problem.

Had there been other books on the topic, I would have snatched them all up immediately, rather than spend hours–even days sometimes–trying to get the Autotools to do something I could have done in a makefile in a few minutes. All of this explains why there are ten books on the shelf with animal pictures on the cover for perl, but literally nothing for free software developers.

There are nearlyfree software projects on sourceforge. This time I did very well–finishing the class with a solid A grade. To drive my point home, I’ll wager that you’ll never see a Linux distribution packager spouting hateful sentiment on the Autotools mailing lists.

You’d think it wouldn’t have made that much difference, but it really does. Lractitioner people are in a class of engineers by themselves. The most basic single-line Makefile. I’ve organized it in the best way I know how to help you get your head around the functionality provided by the Autotools.

Autotools: a practitioner’s guide to Autoconf, Automake and Libtool

But this high-level functionality comes at a price–you have to learn to understand what the compiler is doing for you, so you can write your code in a way that complements it. In fact, one editor told me that he himself had tried unsuccessfully to entice authors to write this book a few years ago. I’ve been told by publishers that there is simply no market for such a book. If only 10 percent of those are still active, that’s still 20, live projects. For example, here’s a message I came across a few days ago while I was perusing the Autoconf mailing list:.


If 80 percent of those are Linux or Unix based packages, that’s 16, free software packages that might use the Autotools. But end-users are not developers, so most of them won’t know how to properly build your package.

You can instead use dnl to ignore the trailing whitespace, provided the closing paren is in column 1. How do you become such an expert?

Autotools: a practitioner’s guide to Autoconf, Automake and Libtool

They don’t write many Autoconf input scripts, but they do patch a lot of them. Then study open source and free software packages that use the Guids.

Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed after reading Chapter 1. But open source software implies source-level distribution. But don’t stop there.