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A.3 Installing the tools

When installing GNU Autotools, it is a good idea to install the tools in the same location (eg. ‘/usr/local’). This allows the tools to discover each others’ presence at installation time. The location shown in the examples below will be the default, ‘/usr/local’, as this choice will make the tools available to all users on the system.

Installing Autoconf is usually a quick and simple exercise, since Autoconf itself uses ‘configure’ to prepare itself for building and installation. Automake and Libtool can be installed using the same steps as for Autoconf. As a matter of personal preference, I like to create a separate build tree when configuring packages to keep the source tree free of derived files such as object files. Applying what we know about invoking ‘configure’ (see section How to run configure and make), we can now configure and build Autoconf. The only ‘configure’ option we’re likely to want to use is ‘--prefix’, so if you want to install the tools in another location, include this option on the command line. It might be desirable to install the package elsewhere when operating in networked environments.

$ mkdir ac-build && cd ac-build
$ ~/autoconf-2.13/configure

You will see ‘configure’ running its tests and producing a ‘Makefile’ in the build directory:

  creating cache ./config.cache
  checking for gm4... no
  checking for gnum4... no
  checking for m4... /usr/bin/m4
  checking whether we are using GNU m4... yes
  checking for mawk... no
  checking for gawk... gawk
  checking for perl... /usr/bin/perl
  checking for a BSD compatible install... /usr/bin/install -c
  updating cache ./config.cache
  creating ./config.status
  creating Makefile
  creating testsuite/Makefile

To build Autoconf, type the following:

$ make all

Autoconf has no architecture-specific files to be compiled, so this process finishes quickly. To install files into ‘/usr/local’, it may be necessary to become the root user before installing.

# make install

Autoconf is now installed on your system.

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