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6.3.1 aclocal options

aclocal accepts the following options:


Look for the macro files in dir instead of the installation directory. This is typically used for debugging.


Run command on M4 file that would be installed or overwritten by --install. The default command is ‘diff -u’. This option implies --install and --dry-run.


Do not actually overwrite (or create) aclocal.m4 and M4 files installed by --install.


Print a summary of the command line options and exit.

-I dir

Add the directory dir to the list of directories searched for .m4 files.


Install system-wide third-party macros into the first directory specified with ‘-I dir’ instead of copying them in the output file.

When this option is used, and only when this option is used, aclocal will also honor ‘#serial NUMBER’ lines that appear in macros: an M4 file is ignored if there exists another M4 file with the same basename and a greater serial number in the search path (see Serial Numbers).


Always overwrite the output file. The default is to overwrite the output file only when really needed, i.e., when its contents changes or if one of its dependencies is younger.

This option forces the update of aclocal.m4 (or the file specified with --output below) and only this file, it has absolutely no influence on files that may need to be installed by --install.


Cause the output to be put into file instead of aclocal.m4.


Prints the name of the directory that aclocal will search to find third-party .m4 files. When this option is given, normal processing is suppressed. This option can be used by a package to determine where to install a macro file.


Print the names of the files it examines.


Print the version number of Automake and exit.


Output warnings falling in category. category can be one of:


dubious syntactic constructs, underquoted macros, unused macros, etc.


unknown macros


all the warnings, this is the default


turn off all the warnings


treat warnings as errors

All warnings are output by default.

The environment variable WARNINGS is honored in the same way as it is for automake (see Creating a

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