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3. How to run configure and make

A package constructed using Autoconf will come with a ‘configure’ script. A user who wants to build and install the package must run this script in order to prepare their source tree in order to build it on their particular system. The actual build process is performed using the make program.

The ‘configure’ script tests system features. For example, it might test whether the C library defines the time_t data type for use by the time() C library function. The ‘configure’ script then makes the results of those tests available to the program while it is being built.

This chapter explains how to invoke a ‘configure’ script from the perspective of a user—someone who just wants to take your package and compile it on their system with a minimum of fuss. It is because Autoconf works as well as it does that it is usually possible to build a package on any kind of machine with a simple configure; make command line. The topics covered in this chapter include how to invoke configure, the files that configure generates and the most useful ‘Makefile’ targets–actions that you want make to perform–that will be available when compiling the package (see section Introducing ‘Makefile’s).

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