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6.7 The override Directive

If a variable has been set with a command argument (see Overriding Variables), then ordinary assignments in the makefile are ignored. If you want to set the variable in the makefile even though it was set with a command argument, you can use an override directive, which is a line that looks like this:

override variable = value


override variable := value

To append more text to a variable defined on the command line, use:

override variable += more text

See Appending More Text to Variables.

Variable assignments marked with the override flag have a higher priority than all other assignments, except another override. Subsequent assignments or appends to this variable which are not marked override will be ignored.

The override directive was not invented for escalation in the war between makefiles and command arguments. It was invented so you can alter and add to values that the user specifies with command arguments.

For example, suppose you always want the ‘-g’ switch when you run the C compiler, but you would like to allow the user to specify the other switches with a command argument just as usual. You could use this override directive:

override CFLAGS += -g

You can also use override directives with define directives. This is done as you might expect:

override define foo =

See Defining Multi-Line Variables.