If the environment variable
MAKEFILES is defined,
considers its value as a list of names (separated by whitespace) of
additional makefiles to be read before the others. This works much
include directive: various directories are searched
for those files (see Including Other Makefiles). In
addition, the default goal is never taken from one of these makefiles
(or any makefile included by them) and it is not an error if the files
MAKEFILES are not found.
The main use of
MAKEFILES is in communication between recursive
make (see Recursive Use of
make). It usually is not desirable to set the environment
variable before a top-level invocation of
make, because it is
usually better not to mess with a makefile from outside. However, if
you are running
make without a specific makefile, a makefile in
MAKEFILES can do useful things to help the built-in implicit
rules work better, such as defining search paths (see Searching Directories for Prerequisites).
Some users are tempted to set
MAKEFILES in the environment
automatically on login, and program makefiles to expect this to be done.
This is a very bad idea, because such makefiles will fail to work if run by
anyone else. It is much better to write explicit
in the makefiles. See Including Other Makefiles.