autotools automake - What are Makefile.am and Makefile.in?




tutorial example (5)

These two files are mostly seen in open source projects.

What are they for, and how do they work?


Answers

DEVELOPER runs these:

1) autoconf - creates shippable configure script (which the installer will run to make the Makefile)
2) automake - creates shippable Makefile.in (which configure will later read to make the Makefile)

INSTALLER runs these:

1) ./configure - creates the Makefile (from Makefile.in).
2) make - creates the application (from the Makefile just created).
3) sudo make install - installs the application - By default the files are (often) installed into /usr/local.


INPUTS -> PROGRAMS -> OUTPUTS:

DEVELOPER runs these:

configure.in -> autoconf -> configure (script) <---- Note! configure.in is depreciated.
configure.ac -> autoconf -> configure (script) <---- Now use configure.ac / (*.ac = autoconf)

Makefile.am -> automake -> Makefile.in / (*.am = automake)

INSTALLER runs these:

Makefile.in -> configure -> Makefile (*.in = input file)

Makefile -> make -> (the new software in your downloads or temporary directory)
Makefile -> make install -> (puts new software in system directory)


"Autoconf is an extensible package of M4 macros that produce shell scripts to automatically configure software source code packages. These scripts can adapt the packages to many kinds of UNIX-like systems without manual user intervention. Autoconf creates a configuration script for a package from a template file that lists the operating system features that the package can use, in the form of M4 macro calls."

"Automake is a tool for automatically generating Makefile.in files compliant with the GNU Coding Standards. Automake requires the use of Autoconf."

Manuals:


Interesting facts:
The main configure.ac used to build LibreOffice is over 12k lines of code, (but there are also 57 other configure.ac files in subfolders.)
From this my generated configure is over 41k lines of code.
While the Makefile.in and Makefile are both only 493 lines of code.
(But, there are also 768 more Makefile.in's in subfolders.)


Makefile.am is a programmer-defined file and is used by automake to generate the Makefile.in file (the .am stands for automake). The configure script typically seen in source tarballs will use the Makefile.in to generate a Makefile.

The configure script itself is generated from a programmer-defined file named either configure.ac or configure.in (deprecated). I prefer .ac (for autoconf) since it differentiates it from the generated Makefile.in files and that way I can have rules such as make dist-clean which runs rm -f *.in. Since it is a generated file, it is not typically stored in a revision system such as Git, SVN, Mercurial or CVS, rather the .ac file would be.

Read more on GNU Autotools. Read about make and Makefile first, then learn about automake, autoconf, libtool, etc.


Simple example

Shamelessly adapted from: http://www.gnu.org/software/automake/manual/html_node/Creating-amhello.html and tested on Ubuntu 14.04 Automake 1.14.1.

Makefile.am

SUBDIRS = src
dist_doc_DATA = README.md

README.md

Some doc.

configure.ac

AC_INIT([automake_hello_world], [1.0], [[email protected]])
AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE([-Wall -Werror foreign])
AC_PROG_CC
AC_CONFIG_HEADERS([config.h])
AC_CONFIG_FILES([
 Makefile
 src/Makefile
])
AC_OUTPUT

src/Makefile.am

bin_PROGRAMS = autotools_hello_world
autotools_hello_world_SOURCES = main.c

src/main.c

#include <config.h>
#include <stdio.h>

int main (void) {
  puts ("Hello world from " PACKAGE_STRING);
  return 0;
}

Usage

autoreconf --install
mkdir build
cd build
../configure
make
sudo make install
autoconf_hello_world
sudo make uninstall

This outputs:

Hello world from automake_hello_world 1.0

Notes

  • autoreconf --install generates several template files which should be tracked by Git, including Makefile.in. It only needs to be run the first time.

  • make install installs:

    • the binary to /usr/local/bin
    • README.md to /usr/local/share/doc/automake_hello_world

On GitHub for you to try it out.


reference :

Makefile.am -- a user input file to automake

configure.in -- a user input file to autoconf


autoconf generates configure from configure.in

automake gererates Makefile.in from Makefile.am

configure generates Makefile from Makefile.in

For ex:

$]
configure.in Makefile.in
$] sudo autoconf
configure configure.in Makefile.in ... 
$] sudo ./configure
Makefile Makefile.in

Makefile.am is probably to be used with automake.

try:

automake

you might also just want to try

make -f Makefile.in

Since this is the product of running automake







makefile autotools automake