autobook-1.5v0 – documentation for autoconf, automake, libtool


Autoconf, Automake and Libtool are packages for making your software
more portable and to simplify building it--usually on someone else's
system.  Software portability and effective build systems are crucial
aspects of modern software engineering practice. It is unlikely
that a software project would be started today with the expectation
that the software would run on only one platform. Hardware constraints
may change the choice of platform, new customers with different
kinds of systems may emerge or your vendor might introduce incompatible
changes in newer versions of their operating system. In addition,
tools that make building software easier and less error prone are

Autoconf is a tool that helps make your packages more portable by
performing tests to discover system characteristics before the
package is compiled.  Your source code can then adapt to these

Automake is a tool for generating Makefiles--descriptions of what
to build--that conform to a number of standards. Automake substantially
simplifies the process of describing the organization of a package
and performs additional functions such as dependency tracking between
source files.

Libtool is a command line interface to the compiler and linker that
makes it easy to portably generate static and shared libraries,
regardless of the platform it is running on.

This book is a tutorial for Autoconf, Automake and Libtool, hereafter
referred to as the GNU Autotools. The GNU manuals that accompany
each tools adequately document each tool in isolation. Until now,
there has not been a guide that has described how these tools work

Thanks go to New Riders (www.newriders.com) for allowing this
document to be licensed under the Open Publication License  and
redistributed freely.

Copyright (c) 2000 by Gary V. Vaughan, Ben Elliston, Tom Tromey and
Ian Lance Taylor. This material may be distributed only subject to
the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License,
draft v1.0 or later (the latest version is presently available at

WWW: http://sourceware.org/autobook/

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