GNU Make Book

by John Graham-Cumming

April 2015, 256 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-59327-649-2

GNU make is the most widely used build automation tool, but it can be challenging to master and its terse language can be tough to parse for even experienced programmers. Those who run into difficulties face a long, involved struggle, often leaving unsolved problems behind and GNU make's vast potential untapped.

The GNU Make Book demystifies GNU make and shows you how to use its best features. You'll find a fast, thorough rundown of the basics of variables, rules, targets, and makefiles. Learn how to fix wastefully long build times and other common problems, and gain insight into more advanced capabilities, such as complex pattern rules. With this utterly pragmatic manual and cookbook, you'll make rapid progress toward becoming a more effective user.

You'll also learn how to:

  • Master user-defined functions, variables, and path handling
  • Weigh the pitfalls and advantages of GNU make parallelization
  • Handle automatic dependency generation, rebuilding, and non-recursive make
  • Modify the GNU make source and take advantage of the GNU Make Standard Library
  • Create makefile assertions and debug makefiles

GNU make is known for being tricky to use, but it doesn't have to be. If you’re looking for a deeper understanding of this indispensable tool, you'll find The GNU Make Book to be an indispensable guide.

About the Author

John Graham-Cumming is a longtime GNU make expert. He wrote the acclaimed machine learning–based POPFile email filter and successfully petitioned the British government to apologize for its treatment of Alan Turing. He holds a doctorate in computer security from Oxford University and works at CloudFlare.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Basics Revisited
Chapter 2: Makefile Debugging
Chapter 3: Building and Rebuilding
Chapter 4: Pitfalls and Problems
Chapter 5: Pushing the Envelope
Chapter 6: The GNU Make Standard Library

View the detailed Table of Contents (PDF)
View the Index (PDF)



"An expert, detailed review of the features and facilities of make, together with superb advice on how to get the most benefits from it."
—Computing Reviews

"Here's a book that could teach you more than you ever thought possible about make. Amazingly thorough, extremely practical, and very well written."
—Sandra Henry-Stocker, IT World (Read More)

"Whether you habitually program in a compiled language or just need to resort to it from time to time, this book will help you use Make in a way that reduces errors, improves build times and enhances the quality of your code."
—Steve Mansfield-Devine, editor of Elsevier's Network Security Newsletter

"I think this book is fantastic."
—Matthew Helmke, author of Ubuntu Unleashed



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