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3 How to contribute to the GNU Autoconf Archive

3.1 Macro Format

Each macro in the Archive has an all-upper-case name with the prefix AX_. The macro is stored in a file with the same name, in lower case, and with the suffix .m4. Unless absolutely necessary, the file contents should be in ASCII. For example, use apostrophe (U+27) for quoting identifiers instead of Unicode quotation mark characters U+2018, U+2019.

The file should begin with a header comment containing three named sections: synopsis, description, and license.

The synopsis gives a summary of the macro usage and arguments. In this section, square brackets ([]) are used to indicate optional parameters, and may be nested.

The description contains a prose description of the macro. It should describe the function of the macro, and the meaning of any arguments given in the synopsis. The description should also identify:

Macros should be defined with AC_DEFUN, using correct quoting. Comments should be used liberally within the macro, with dnl used for comments at the m4sh level and # used for comments at the shell level.

If a macro is renamed, the AU_ALIAS macro should be used to guide users of the old name to the new name:


3.2 Submitting Macros

To submit updates to the Autoconf Archive, please create an issue in the patch tracker and attach a (preferably git-format-patch(1)-formatted) patch file. Users of may prefer to create a pull request for the Autoconf Archive Mirror at Github. Please make sure your submission contains the following items:

Macros can be submitted under any GPL-compatible free software license. The Free Software Foundation, however, recommends use of the all-permissive license for Autoconf macros.

3.3 Writing Highly Usable Macros

Autoconf macros are used in a surprising variety of ways, and a well-written macro should be flexible enough to suit all of these uses.

See the Autotools Mythbuster for suggestions on how to write well-encapsulated, portable macros.

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