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GNU Automake 1.8
We're pleased to announce the release of Automake 1.8.
Automake is a tool for automatically generating `Makefile.in's
suitable for use with Autoconf, compliant with the GNU Makefile
standards, and portable to various make implementations.
This release contains many bug fixes and improvements. The NEWS
entry is appended. Thanks to all people who have reported bugs,
contributed code, suggested enhancements, or answered user
questions on the mailing lists.
Default source file names in the absence of a _SOURCES
declaration are made by removing any target extension before
appending `.c', so to make the libtool module `foo.la' from
`foo.c', you only need to do this:
lib_LTLIBRARIES = foo.la
foo_la_LDFLAGS = -module
For backward compatibility, foo_la.c will be used instead of
foo.c if this file exists or is the explicit target of a rule.
However -Wobsolete will warn about this deprecated naming.
AR's `cru' flags are now set in a global ARFLAGS variable
instead of being hard-coded in each $(AR) invocation, so they can
be substituted from configure.ac. This has been requested by people
dealing with non-POSIX ar implementations.
New warning option: -Woverride. This will warn about any user
target or variable definitions which override Automake
Texinfo rules back up and restore info files when makeinfo
Texinfo rules now support the `html' target. Running this
requires Texinfo 4.0 or greater.
`html' is a new recursive target, so if your package mixes
hand-crafted `Makefile.in's with Automake-generated `Makefile.in's,
you should adjust the former to support (or ignore) this target so
that `make html' recurses successfully. If you had a custom `html'
rule in your `Makefile.am', it's better to rename it as
`html-local', otherwise your rule will override Automake's new rule
(you can check that by running `automake -Woverride') and that will
stop the recursion to subdirectories.
Last but not least, this `html' rule is declared PHONY, even
when overridden. Fortunately, it appears that few packages use a
non-PHONY `html' rule.
Any file which is m4_included from configure.ac will appear as
a configure and Makefile.in dependency, and will be automatically
The rules for rebuilding Makefiles and Makefile.ins will now
rebuild all Makefiles and all Makefile.ins at once when one of
configure's dependencies has changed. This is considerably faster
than previous implementations, where config.status and automake
were run separately in each directory (this still happens when you
change a Makefile.am locally, without touching configure.ac or
friends). Doing this also solves a longstanding issue: these
rebuild rules failed to work when adding new directories to the
tree, forcing you to run automake manually.
For similar reasons, the rules to rebuild configure,
config.status, and aclocal.m4 are now defined in all directories.
Note that if you were using the CONFIG_STATUS_DEPENDENCIES and
CONFIGURE_DEPENDENCIES (formerly undocumented) variables, you
should better define them in all directories. This is easily done
using an AC_SUBST (make sure you prefix these dependencies with
$(top_srcdir) since this variable will appear at different levels
of the build tree).
aclocal will now use `m4_include' instead of copying local m4
files into aclocal.m4. (Local m4 files are those you ship with your
project, other files will be copied as usual.)
Because m4_included files are automatically distributed, it
means for most projects there is no point in EXTRA_DISTing the list
of m4 files which are used. (You can probably get rid of
m4/Makefile.am if you had one.)
aclocal will avoid touching aclocal.m4 when possible, so that
Autom4te's cache isn't needlessly invalidated. This behavior can be
switched off with the new `--force' option.
aclocal now uses Autoconf's --trace to detect macros which are
actually used and will no longer include unused macros simply
because they where mentioned. This was often the case for macros
New options no-dist and no-dist-gzip.
compile, depcomp, elisp-comp, install-sh, mdate-sh,
mkinstalldirs, py-compile, and ylwrap, now all understand --version
Automake will now recognize AC_CONFIG_LINKS so far as removing
created links as part of the distclean target and including source
files in distributions.
AM_PATH_PYTHON now supports ACTION-IF-FOUND and
ACTION-IF-NOT-FOUND argument. The latter can be used to override
the default behavior (which is to abort).
Automake will exit with $? = 63 on version mismatch. (So does
Autoconf 2.58) missing knows this, and in this case it will emulate
the tools as if they were absent. Because older versions of
Automake and Autoconf did not use this exit code, this change will
only be useful in projects generated with future versions of these
When using AC_CONFIG_FILES with multiple input files, Automake
generates the first ".in" input file for which a ".am" exists.
(Former versions would try to use only the first input file.)
lisp_DATA is now allowed. If you are using the empty ELCFILES
idiom to disable byte-compilation of lisp_LISP files, it is
recommended that you switch to using lisp_DATA. Note that this is
not strictly equivalent: lisp_DATA will install elisp files even if
emacs is not installed, while *_LISP do not install anything unless
emacs is found.
Makefiles will prefer `mkdir -p' over mkinstalldirs if it is
available. This selection is achieved through the Makefile variable
$(mkdir_p) that is set by AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE to either `mkdir -m 0755
-p --', `$(mkinstalldirs) -m 0755', or `$(install_sh) -m 0755
Because `mkdir -p' is available on most platforms, and we can
use `install-sh -d' when it is not, the use of the mkinstalldirs
script is being phased out. `automake --add-missing' no longer
installs it, and if you remove mkinstalldirs from your package,
automake will define $(mkinstalldirs) as an alias for $(mkdir_p).
Gettext 1.12.1 still requires mkinstalldirs. Fortunately
gettextize and autopoint will install it when needed. Automake will
continue to define the $(mkinstalldirs) and to distribute
mkinstalldirs when this script is in the source tree.
AM_PROG_CC_STDC is now empty. The content of this macro was
merged in AC_PROG_CC. If your code uses $am_cvprogcc_stdc, you should adjust it to use
$ac_cvprogcc_stdc instead. (This renaming
should be safe, even if you have to support several, versions of
Automake, because AC_PROG_CC defines this variable since Autoconf
Some users where using the undocumented ACLOCAL_M4_SOURCES
variable to override the aclocal.m4 dependencies computed
(inaccurately) by older versions of Automake. Because Automake now
tracks configure's m4 dependencies accurately (see m4_include
above), the use of ACLOCAL_M4_SOURCES should be considered obsolete
and will be flagged as such when running `automake
Defining programs conditionally using Automake conditionals no
longer leads to a combinatorial explosion. The following construct
used to be troublesome when used with dozens of conditions.
bin_PROGRAMS = a
bin_PROGRAMS += a1
bin_PROGRAMS += a2
bin_PROGRAMS += a3
Likewise for _SOURCES, _LDADD, and _LIBADD variables.
Due to implementation constraints, previous versions of
Automake proscribed multiple conditional definitions of some
variables like bin_PROGRAMS:
bin_PROGRAMS = a1
bin_PROGRAMS = a2
All _PROGRAMS, _LDADD, and _LIBADD variables were affected. This
restriction has been lifted, and these variables now support
multiple conditional definitions as do other variables.
Cleanup the definitions of $(distdir) and $(top_distdir).
$(top_distdir) now points to the root of the distribution directory
created during `make dist', as it did in Automake 1.4, not to the
root of the build tree as it did in intervening versions.
Furthermore these two variables are now only defined in the top
level Makefile, and passed to sub-directories when running `make
The --no-force option now correctly checks the Makefile.in's
dependencies before deciding not to update it.
Do not assume that make files are called Makefile in cleaning
Update .info files in the source tree, not in the build tree.
This is what the GNU Coding Standard recommend. Only Automake 1.7.x
used to update these files in the build tree (previous versions did
it in the source tree too), and it caused several problems, varying
from mere annoyance to portability issues.
COPYING, COPYING.LIB, and COPYING.LESSER are no longer
overwritten when --add-missing and --force-missing are used. For
backward compatibility --add-missing will continue to install
COPYING (in `gnu' strictness) when none of these three files exist,
but this use is deprecated: you should better choose a license
yourself and install it once for all in your source tree (and in
your code management system).
Fix ylwrap so that it does not overwrite header files that
haven't changed, as the inline rule already does.
User-defined rules override automake-defined rules for the same
targets, even when rules do not have commands. This is not new (and
was documented), however some of the automake-generated rules have
escaped this principle in former Automake versions. Rules for the
following targets are affected by this fix:
Practically it means that an attempt to supplement the
dependencies of some target, as in
will now silently override the automake definition of
the rule for this target. Running `automake -Woverride' will
diagnose all such overriding definitions.
It should be noted that almost all these targets support a
*-local variant that is meant to supplement the automake-defined
rule (See node `Extending' in the manual). The above rule should be
These *-local targets have been documented since at least
Automake 1.2, so you should not fear the change if you have to
support multiple automake versions.
The Automake manual is now distributed under the terms of the
Targets dist-gzip, dist-bzip2, dist-tarZ, dist-zip are always
core dumps are no longer removed by the cleaning rules. There
are at least three reasons for this:
These files should not be created by any build step, so their
removal do not fit any of the cleaning rules. Actually, they may be
precious to the developer.
If such file is created during a build, then it's clearly a bug
Automake should not hide. Not removing the file will cause `make
distcheck' to complain about its presence.
Operating systems have different naming conventions for core
dump files. A core file on one system might be a completely
legitimate data file on another system.
RUNTESTFLAGS, CTAGSFLAGS, ETAGSFLAGS, JAVACFLAGS are no longer
defined by Automake. This means that any definition in the
environment will be used, unless overridden in the Makefile.am or
on the command line. The old behavior, where these variables were
defined empty in each Makefile, can be obtained by AC_SUBSTing or
AC_ARG_VARing each variable from configure.ac.
CONFIGURE_DEPENDENCIES and CONFIG_STATUS_DEPENDENCIES are now
documented. (The is not a new feature, these variables have been
there since at least Automake 1.4.)