Write the Makefile commands (and any shell scripts, such as
configure) to run under
sh (both the traditional Bourne
shell and the POSIX shell), not
csh. Don’t use any
special features of
bash, or POSIX features
not widely supported in traditional Bourne
configure script and the Makefile rules for building and
installation should not use any utilities directly except these:
awk cat cmp cp diff echo egrep expr false grep install-info ln ls mkdir mv printf pwd rm rmdir sed sleep sort tar test touch tr true
Compression programs such as
gzip can be used in the
Generally, stick to the widely-supported (usually POSIX-specified) options and features of these programs. For example, don’t use ‘mkdir -p’, convenient as it may be, because a few systems don’t support it at all and with others, it is not safe for parallel execution. For a list of known incompatibilities, see Portable Shell Programming in Autoconf.
It is a good idea to avoid creating symbolic links in makefiles, since a few file systems don’t support them.
The Makefile rules for building and installation can also use compilers
and related programs, but should do so via
make variables so that the
user can substitute alternatives. Here are some of the programs we
ar bison cc flex install ld ldconfig lex make makeinfo ranlib texi2dvi yacc
Use the following
make variables to run those programs:
$(AR) $(BISON) $(CC) $(FLEX) $(INSTALL) $(LD) $(LDCONFIG) $(LEX) $(MAKE) $(MAKEINFO) $(RANLIB) $(TEXI2DVI) $(YACC)
When you use
ldconfig, you should make sure
nothing bad happens if the system does not have the program in question.
Arrange to ignore an error from that command, and print a message before
the command to tell the user that failure of this command does not mean
a problem. (The Autoconf ‘AC_PROG_RANLIB’ macro can help with
If you use symbolic links, you should implement a fallback for systems that don’t have symbolic links.
Additional utilities that can be used via Make variables are:
chgrp chmod chown mknod
It is ok to use other utilities in Makefile portions (or scripts) intended only for particular systems where you know those utilities exist.