Docs for Berkeley Make?

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Sat Feb 5 01:51:17 PST 2005

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-freebsd-questions at
> [mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Jonathon
> McKitrick
> Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 5:05 AM
> To: Ted Mittelstaedt
> Cc: freebsd-questions at
> Subject: Re: Docs for Berkeley Make?
> On Fri, Feb 04, 2005 at 01:20:02AM -0800, Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
> : The difference is in the extra candy, which you really don't
> need or want
> : to use anyway, unless the project becomes gigantic.
> :
> : There's only a handful of open source projects out there
> which justify
> : the extra
> : fancy crapoola in GNU make, in my experience.  Unfortunately there's
> : far too many of them that require gmake simply because the programmer
> : became enamored of some gimgaw in gmake that had a high
> coolness factor.
> : It is really sad to see software that consists of about 10
> source files,
> : that has a makefile that's so non-standard that it requires gmake.
> Well, I was just using existing BSD makefiles to learn with.
> But then I got
> interested in learning libraries.  I'm still trying to find a tool or
> shortcut for handling sonames the best way.
> But then I found out we are doing a very large project on
> Linux.  I want to
> make it work on both RH Linux (the target) and FreeBSD (to
> work on/use at
> home, of course).  I've been learning about the GNU autotools,
> which seem
> very finicky, to say the least, but at the same time I don't
> have to worry
> about details, like linux-vs-BSD library details  And it would
> be easy to
> handle, for instance, the difference between the names of
> serial ports on
> the 2 platforms.
> If this were only for BSD, I'd use the makefile framework.
> But it's not.
> And it's going to be a large enough project that I don't have
> the time to
> constantly fiddle with makefiles and such.  And obviously,
> this also has to
> work with CVS.
> I'm the only developer with *any* real Unix experience, and that's very
> modest experience, to say the least.
> Any other ideas I should look into?

I think the GNU autotools are what you want.  And there is no
to use gmake with them.

The biggest problem with the autotools is that too many programmers
get the idea that the way to use the autotools is to copy some other
project's configuration and just edit it a bit and slap it into their
program.  In other words a short cut.  Be warned, this is very bad.
You really need to read all the autotools documents, digest them,
and write your configs from scratch.  You don't want people laughing
at you because your checking for libcrypt yet nothing in your program
requires it.


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