Thanks, Make!

by chromatic

I have a love/hate relationship with GNU Make. Yes, it's picky about syntax and it's difficult to write cross-platform Makefiles (though that's not really GNU Make's fault), but a make utility of some sort is mostly ubiquitous across the free Unix-like platforms.

When I need to compile a project written in C or C++ (or when I want to automate certain system administration tasks, such as remembering to update my Postfix files when I update them), I use GNU Make. It does a difficult job without much thanks or thought. I suspect that its maintainers, like me, would like to see a cleaner and friendlier replacement sometime in the future, but for now, its ubiquity and its power are definite advantages.

Thanks to everyone who's contributed to make and GNU Make!


Josh Peters
2007-03-12 21:19:23
And let's not forget that if GNU make weren't so difficult to understand we'd never have the other great build tools (Ant, Jam, etc).

That being said, I assume any C(++) project has its own ./configure && make all && make install ready for me to use.

Which brings up a question for you: what do you think of autoconf?

Another question I would love to hear an answer to is this one: make deinstall or make uninstall or something entirely different?

2007-03-13 02:32:41
I've found make incredibly tedious for building C and C++ projects. So much so that I created my own build system (others didn't /quite/ do what I wanted either).

If you're interested, have a look at 'slam' at

2007-03-15 17:02:33
@Josh, it's probably a lot terser example than you want, but I don't use autoconf these days. I also know how it works. Read into that whatever connection you think best. Fortunately, pkg-config handles most of my needs instead at the moment.