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2.1 First Take on Dependency Tracking


Our first attempt at automatic dependency tracking was based on the method recommended by GNU make. (see Generating Prerequisites Automatically)

This version worked by precomputing dependencies ahead of time. For each source file, it had a special .P file that held the dependencies. There was a rule to generate a .P file by invoking the compiler appropriately. All such .P files were included by the Makefile, thus implicitly becoming dependencies of Makefile.


This approach had several critical bugs.

Historical Note

The code generated by Automake is often inspired by the Makefile style of a particular author. In the case of the first implementation of dependency tracking, I believe the impetus and inspiration was Jim Meyering. (I could be mistaken. If you know otherwise feel free to correct me.)