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11 What Gets Installed

Naturally, Automake handles the details of actually installing your program once it has been built. All PROGRAMS, SCRIPTS, LIBRARIES, LISP, DATA and HEADERS are automatically installed in the appropriate places.

Automake also handles installing any specified info and man pages.

Automake generates separate install-data and install-exec targets, in case the installer is installing on multiple machines which share directory structure—these targets allow the machine-independent parts to be installed only once. The install target depends on both of these targets.

Automake also generates an uninstall target, an installdirs target, and an install-strip target.

It is possible to extend this mechanism by defining an install-exec-local or install-data-local target. If these targets exist, they will be run at ‘make install’ time.

Variables using the standard directory prefixes ‘data’, ‘info’, ‘man’, ‘include’, ‘oldinclude’, ‘pkgdata’, or ‘pkginclude’ (e.g. ‘data_DATA’) are installed by ‘install-data’.

Variables using the standard directory prefixes ‘bin’, ‘sbin’, ‘libexec’, ‘sysconf’, ‘localstate’, ‘lib’, or ‘pkglib’ (e.g. ‘bin_PROGRAMS’) are installed by ‘install-exec’.

Any variable using a user-defined directory prefix with ‘exec’ in the name (e.g. ‘myexecbin_PROGRAMS’ is installed by ‘install-exec’. All other user-defined prefixes are installed by ‘install-data’.

Automake generates support for the ‘DESTDIR’ variable in all install rules. ‘DESTDIR’ is used during the ‘make install’ step to relocate install objects into a staging area. Each object and path is prefixed with the value of ‘DESTDIR’ before being copied into the install area. Here is an example of typical DESTDIR usage:

make DESTDIR=/tmp/staging install

This places install objects in a directory tree built under /tmp/staging. If /gnu/bin/foo and /gnu/share/aclocal/foo.m4 are to be installed, the above command would install /tmp/staging/gnu/bin/foo and /tmp/staging/gnu/share/aclocal/foo.m4.

This feature is commonly used to build install images and packages. For more information, see Makefile Conventions in The GNU Coding Standards.

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