Haoyu Tan’s code library. Contribute to haoyutan/codelib development by creating an account on GitHub. Autotools: a practitioner’s guide to Autoconf, Automake and Libtool. by John Calcote – Chapter 1: A brief introduction to the GNU Autotools. by John . There are few people who would deny that Autoconf, Automake and Libtool have revolutionized the free software world. While there are many thousands of.

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If that’s the case, then this response made no sense to him whatsoever. For example, here’s a message I came across a few days ago while I was perusing the Autoconf mailing list:. The Autotools manuals are well-written and concise, but more importantly, they’re complete. You’ll still need to handle the operation experience, of course, but Autotools can provide a great multi-platform build and installation experience–with far less effort on your part.

I’d been away from math classes for about three years when I took my first college calculus course. The use of the term “open source” is critical in this context. This book is written for the open source software package maintainer. All of this explains why there are ten books on the shelf with animal pictures on the cover for perl, but literally nothing for free software developers.

Dozens of changes were made incrementally over a period of years, until the script would work properly on most systems anyone cared about.

You need a solid understanding of the tools upon which the Autotools are built in order to become proficient with the Autotools themselves.


I’ve been in this industry for 25 years, and I’ve worked with free software for quite some time now. First, I practitionner want to clutter the main text with side issues–one of my goals in writing this book was to make it readable. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted worldwide, without royalty, in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

Perhaps he’s always simply copied one configure. They fixed about 65 percent of the problems resulting from system configuration differences–and they were a pain in the neck to write properly. But you are required to manage all of the details yourself. And that’s only sourceforge.

This time I did very well–finishing the class with a solid A grade. You do it by creating a user build, installation and operation experience that shines. What to do, what to do I understood the theory, but I had trouble with the homework.

I recommend that you give this chapter a quick read to start with, and then come back to it later, after you’ve read the rest of this book.

Autotools: a practitioner’s guide to Autoconf, Automake and Libtool

Perhaps the authors were targeting an audience that had already graduated to more advanced topics. Put enough of these under your belt and overall mastery of the Autotools is ultimately inevitable.

Understanding how something works under the covers is often a good way to master a topic, but a general introduction at an appropriate point in higher-level discussions can make all the difference to a beginner. This chapter designs a simple project jupiter from start to finish using a hand-coded configure script and makefiles.


This book attempts to alleviate some of the confusion and reduce the existing learning curve by presenting the Autotools in a manner conducive to an open source atotools learning how to use them.

Chapter 2 covers free software project structure and organization. Many of them have a fairly solid understanding of the Autotools by now, but at what expense in time and effort did they gain this understanding?

Now, it’s truly wonderful that we have experts on mailing lists who are so willing to respond cheerfully to questions like this, and so quickly–this exchange took place within a few hours. Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed after reading Chapter 1.

Autotools: a practitioner’s guide to Autoconf, Automake and Libtool

I just didn’t have the background I needed. I struggled the entire semester with little progress. Thus was born the ubiquitous configure script–initially a simple shell script that configured the end-user’s environment so practjtioner the practutioner utility could successfully build a source package on the end-user’s system.

Let me try to explain with an analogy. Source-level distribution relegates a particular portion of the responsibility of software development to the end-user that has traditionally been assumed by the software developer.