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21.1 Make is verbose by default

Normally, when executing the set of rules associated with a target, make prints each rule before it is executed. This behaviour, while having been in place for a long time, and being even mandated by the POSIX standard, starkly violates the “silence is golden” UNIX principle7:

When a program has nothing interesting or surprising to say, it should say nothing. Well-behaved Unix programs do their jobs unobtrusively, with a minimum of fuss and bother. Silence is golden.

In fact, while such verbosity of make can theoretically be useful to track bugs and understand reasons of failures right away, it can also hide warning and error messages from make-invoked tools, drowning them in a flood of uninteresting and seldom useful messages, and thus allowing them to go easily undetected.

This problem can be very annoying, especially for developers, who usually know quite well what’s going on behind the scenes, and for whom the verbose output from make ends up being mostly noise that hampers the easy detection of potentially important warning messages.



See also