To create all the Makefile.ins for a package, run the automake program in the top level directory, with no arguments. automake will automatically find each appropriate Makefile.am (by scanning configure.ac; see configure) and generate the corresponding Makefile.in. Note that automake has a rather simplistic view of what constitutes a package; it assumes that a package has only one configure.ac, at the top. If your package has multiple configure.acs, then you must run automake in each directory holding a configure.ac. (Alternatively, you may rely on Autoconf's autoreconf, which is able to recurse your package tree and run automake where appropriate.)
You can optionally give automake an argument; .am is appended to the argument and the result is used as the name of the input file. This feature is generally only used to automatically rebuild an out-of-date Makefile.in. Note that automake must always be run from the topmost directory of a project, even if being used to regenerate the Makefile.in in some subdirectory. This is necessary because automake must scan configure.ac, and because automake uses the knowledge that a Makefile.in is in a subdirectory to change its behavior in some cases.
Automake will run autoconf to scan configure.ac and its dependencies (i.e., aclocal.m4 and any included file), therefore autoconf must be in your PATH. If there is an AUTOCONF variable in your environment it will be used instead of autoconf, this allows you to select a particular version of Autoconf. By the way, don't misunderstand this paragraph: automake runs autoconf to scan your configure.ac, this won't build configure and you still have to run autoconf yourself for this purpose.
automake accepts the following options:
AC_CANONICAL_HOST. Automake is distributed with several of these files (see Auxiliary Programs); this option will cause the missing ones to be automatically added to the package, whenever possible. In general if Automake tells you a file is missing, try using this option. By default Automake tries to make a symbolic link pointing to its own copy of the missing file; this can be changed with --copy.
Many of the potentially-missing files are common scripts whose
location may be specified via the
AC_CONFIG_AUX_DIR's setting affects whether a
file is considered missing, and where the missing file is added
In some strictness modes, additional files are installed, see Gnits
for more information.
A category can be turned off by prefixing its name with ‘no-’. For instance, -Wno-syntax will hide the warnings about unused variables.
The categories output by default are ‘obsolete’, ‘syntax’ and ‘unsupported’. Additionally, ‘gnu’ and ‘portability’ are enabled in --gnu and --gnits strictness.
Turning off ‘portability’ will also turn off ‘extra-portability’, and similarly turning on ‘extra-portability’ will also turn on ‘portability’. However, turning on ‘portability’ or turning off ‘extra-portability’ will not affect the other category.
The environment variable WARNINGS can contain a comma separated list of categories to enable. It will be taken into account before the command-line switches, this way -Wnone will also ignore any warning category enabled by WARNINGS. This variable is also used by other tools like autoconf; unknown categories are ignored for this reason.
If the environment variable AUTOMAKE_JOBS contains a positive number, it is taken as the maximum number of Perl threads to use in automake for generating multiple Makefile.in files concurrently. This is an experimental feature.