Automake generates rules to automatically rebuild Makefiles, configure, and other derived files like Makefile.in.
If you are using
AM_MAINTAINER_MODE in configure.ac, then
these automatic rebuilding rules are only enabled in maintainer mode.
Sometimes it is convenient to supplement the rebuild rules for
configure or config.status with additional dependencies.
CONFIG_STATUS_DEPENDENCIES can be used to list these extra
dependencies. These variables should be defined in all
Makefiles of the tree (because these two rebuild rules are
output in all of them), so it is safer and easier to
from configure.ac. For instance, the following statement will
cause configure to be rerun each time version.sh is
Note the ‘$(top_srcdir)/’ in the file name. Since this variable is to be used in all Makefiles, its value must be sensible at any level in the build hierarchy.
Beware not to mistake
CONFIGURE_DEPENDENCIES adds dependencies to the
configure rule, whose effect is to run
variable should be seldom used, because
automake already tracks
m4_included files. However it can be useful when playing
tricky games with
m4_esyscmd or similar non-recommendable
macros with side effects. Be also aware that interactions of this
variable with the autom4te cache in The Autoconf Manual are quite problematic and can cause subtle
breakage, so you might want to disable the cache if you want to use
CONFIG_STATUS_DEPENDENCIES adds dependencies to the
config.status rule, whose effect is to run configure.
This variable should therefore carry any non-standard source that may
be read as a side effect of running
configure, like version.sh
in the example above.
Speaking of version.sh scripts, we recommend against them today. They are mainly used when the version of a package is updated automatically by a script (e.g., in daily builds). Here is what some old-style configure.acs may look like:
AC_INIT . $srcdir/version.sh AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE([name], $VERSION_NUMBER) …
Here, version.sh is a shell fragment that sets
VERSION_NUMBER. The problem with this example is that
automake cannot track dependencies (listing version.sh
CONFIG_STATUS_DEPENDENCIES, and distributing this file is up
to the user), and that it uses the obsolete form of
AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE. Upgrading to the new syntax is not
straightforward, because shell variables are not allowed in
AC_INIT’s arguments. We recommend that version.sh be
replaced by an M4 file that is included by configure.ac:
m4_include([version.m4]) AC_INIT([name], VERSION_NUMBER) AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE …
Here version.m4 could contain something like
‘m4_define([VERSION_NUMBER], [1.2])’. The advantage of this
second form is that
automake will take care of the
dependencies when defining the rebuild rule, and will also distribute
the file automatically. An inconvenience is that
will now be rerun each time the version number is bumped, when only
configure had to be rerun in the previous setup.
GNU Make, at least, has an option --always-make which tells Make to consider that all targets are out of date. This interacts badly with Automake-generated Makefiles, which implement their own careful rules for when to regenerate Makefiles, as described above. The result is an endless loop, or other poor behavior. The only thing to do, as far as we know, is to refrain from using --always-make.