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Preparing and Running Make

To prepare to use make, you must write a file called the makefile that describes the relationships among files in your program and provides commands for updating each file. In a program, typically, the executable file is updated from object files, which are in turn made by compiling source files.

Once a suitable makefile exists, each time you change some source files, this simple shell command:


suffices to perform all necessary recompilations. The make program uses the makefile data base and the last-modification times of the files to decide which of the files need to be updated. For each of those files, it issues the recipes recorded in the data base.

You can provide command line arguments to make to control which files should be recompiled, or how. See How to Run make.