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3.9 Building directly from the top-level directory

By default, the Gnulib import directory will contain a generated file. After configuring, this produces a generated Makefile in this directory. As a consequence, the build from the top-level directory will use a recursive make invocation for this directory.

Some people prefer a build system where the Makefile in the top-level directory directly builds the artifacts in the subdirectories, without an intermediate make invocation. This is called “non-recursive make” and is supported by Automake. For more details, see

Gnulib supports this flavour of build system too. To use it, pass two options to gnulib-tool: ‘--makefile-name’ and ‘--automake-subdir’.

With the gnulib-tool option ‘--makefile-name’, you are telling gnulib-tool to generate an includable portion in the Gnulib import directory, rather than a self-contained For example, when you use ‘--makefile-name=Makefile.gnulib’, gnulib-tool will generate Makefile.gnulib.

With the option ‘--automake-subdir’, you are telling gnulib-tool that you will include the generated file from the in the top-level directory, rather than from a in the same directory. For example, the top-level might contain this directive:

include lib/Makefile.gnulib

The option ‘--automake-subdir’ is also supported in combination with ‘--with-tests’ (see Bundling the unit tests of the Gnulib modules). Note that in this case, however, the generated unit tests directory will contains a and thus use a recursive make invocation. This is not a problem, since the built artifacts of your package have no dependencies towards the Gnulib unit tests, nor vice versa.

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