The Uniform Naming Scheme
Automake variables generally follow a "uniform naming scheme" that
makes it easy to decide how programs (and other derived objects) are
built, and how they are installed. This scheme also supports
`configure' time determination of what should be built.
At `make' time, certain variables are used to determine which
objects are to be built. The variable names are made of several pieces
which are concatenated together.
The piece which tells automake what is being built is commonly called
the "primary". For instance, the primary `PROGRAMS' holds a list of
programs which are to be compiled and linked.
A different set of names is used to decide where the built objects
should be installed. These names are prefixes to the primary which
indicate which standard directory should be used as the installation
directory. The standard directory names are given in the GNU standards
( Directory Variables (standards)Directory Variables.). Automake
extends this list with `pkglibdir', `pkgincludedir', and `pkgdatadir';
these are the same as the non-`pkg' versions, but with `@PACKAGE@'
appended. For instance, `pkglibdir' is defined as
For each primary, there is one additional variable named by
prepending `EXTRA_' to the primary name. This variable is used to list
objects which may or may not be built, depending on what `configure'
decides. This variable is required because Automake must statically
know the entire list of objects that may be built in order to generate
a `Makefile.in' that will work in all cases.
For instance, `cpio' decides at configure time which programs are
built. Some of the programs are installed in `bindir', and some are
installed in `sbindir':
EXTRA_PROGRAMS = mt rmt
bin_PROGRAMS = cpio pax
sbin_PROGRAMS = @MORE_PROGRAMS@
Defining a primary without a prefix as a variable, e.g., `PROGRAMS',
is an error.
Note that the common `dir' suffix is left off when constructing the
variable names; thus one writes `bin_PROGRAMS' and not
Not every sort of object can be installed in every directory.
Automake will flag those attempts it finds in error. Automake will
also diagnose obvious misspellings in directory names.
Sometimes the standard directories--even as augmented by Automake--
are not enough. In particular it is sometimes useful, for clarity, to
install objects in a subdirectory of some predefined directory. To this
end, Automake allows you to extend the list of possible installation
directories. A given prefix (e.g. `zar') is valid if a variable of the
same name with `dir' appended is defined (e.g. `zardir').
For instance, until HTML support is part of Automake, you could use
this to install raw HTML documentation:
htmldir = $(prefix)/html
html_DATA = automake.html
The special prefix `noinst' indicates that the objects in question
should be built but not installed at all. This is usually used for
objects required to build the rest of your package, for instance static
libraries ( A Library), or helper scripts.
The special prefix `check' indicates that the objects in question
should not be built until the `make check' command is run. Those
objects are not installed either.
The current primary names are `PROGRAMS', `LIBRARIES', `LISP',
`PYTHON', `JAVA', `SCRIPTS', `DATA', `HEADERS', `MANS', and `TEXINFOS'.
Some primaries also allow additional prefixes which control other
aspects of `automake''s behavior. The currently defined prefixes are
`dist_', `nodist_', and `nobase_'. These prefixes are explained later
( Program and Library Variables).
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