make [ -f makefile ] [ options ] ... [ targets ] ...
This man page is an extract of the documentation of GNU make. It is
updated only occasionally, because the GNU project does not use nroff.
For complete, current documentation, refer to the Info file make.info
which is made from the Texinfo source file make.texi.
The purpose of the make utility is to determine automatically which
pieces of a large program need to be recompiled, and issue the commands
to recompile them. The manual describes the GNU implementation of
make, which was written by Richard Stallman and Roland McGrath, and is
currently maintained by Paul Smith. Our examples show C programs,
since they are most common, but you can use make with any programming
language whose compiler can be run with a shell command. In fact, make
is not limited to programs. You can use it to describe any task where
some files must be updated automatically from others whenever the oth-
To prepare to use make, you must write a file called the makefile that
describes the relationships among files in your program, and the states
the commands for updating each file. In a program, typically the exe-
cutable file is updated from object files, which are in turn made by
compiling source files.
Once a suitable makefile exists, each time you change some source
files, this simple shell command:
suffices to perform all necessary recompilations. The make program
uses the makefile data base and the last-modification times of the
files to decide which of the files need to be updated. For each of
those files, it issues the commands recorded in the data base.
make executes commands in the makefile to update one or more target
names, where name is typically a program. If no -f option is present,
make will look for the makefiles GNUmakefile, makefile, and Makefile,
in that order.
Normally you should call your makefile either makefile or Makefile.
(We recommend Makefile because it appears prominently near the begin-
ning of a directory listing, right near other important files such as
README.) The first name checked, GNUmakefile, is not recommended for
most makefiles. You should use this name if you have a makefile that
is specific to GNU make, and will not be understood by other versions
of make. If makefile is `-', the standard input is read.
make updates a target if it depends on prerequisite files that have
been modified since the target was last modified, or if the target does
preted relative to the previous one: -C / -C etc is equivalent to
-C /etc. This is typically used with recursive invocations of
-d Print debugging information in addition to normal processing. The
debugging information says which files are being considered for
remaking, which file-times are being compared and with what
results, which files actually need to be remade, which implicit
rules are considered and which are applied---everything interest-
ing about how make decides what to do.
Print debugging information in addition to normal processing. If
the FLAGS are omitted, then the behavior is the same as if -d was
specified. FLAGS may be a for all debugging output (same as using
-d), b for basic debugging, v for more verbose basic debugging, i
for showing implicit rules, j for details on invocation of com-
mands, and m for debugging while remaking makefiles.
Give variables taken from the environment precedence over vari-
ables from makefiles.
-f file, --file=file, --makefile=FILE
Use file as a makefile.
Ignore all errors in commands executed to remake files.
-I dir, --include-dir=dir
Specifies a directory dir to search for included makefiles. If
several -I options are used to specify several directories, the
directories are searched in the order specified. Unlike the argu-
ments to other flags of make, directories given with -I flags may
come directly after the flag: -Idir is allowed, as well as -I dir.
This syntax is allowed for compatibility with the C preprocessor's
-j [jobs], --jobs[=jobs]
Specifies the number of jobs (commands) to run simultaneously. If
there is more than one -j option, the last one is effective. If
the -j option is given without an argument, make will not limit
the number of jobs that can run simultaneously.
Continue as much as possible after an error. While the target
that failed, and those that depend on it, cannot be remade, the
other dependencies of these targets can be processed all the same.
-l [load], --load-average[=load]
Specifies that no new jobs (commands) should be started if there
are others jobs running and the load average is at least load (a
floating-point number). With no argument, removes a previous load
Print the data base (rules and variable values) that results from
reading the makefiles; then execute as usual or as otherwise spec-
ified. This also prints the version information given by the -v
switch (see below). To print the data base without trying to
remake any files, use make -p -f/dev/null.
``Question mode''. Do not run any commands, or print anything;
just return an exit status that is zero if the specified targets
are already up to date, nonzero otherwise.
Eliminate use of the built-in implicit rules. Also clear out the
default list of suffixes for suffix rules.
Don't define any built-in variables.
-s, --silent, --quiet
Silent operation; do not print the commands as they are executed.
-S, --no-keep-going, --stop
Cancel the effect of the -k option. This is never necessary
except in a recursive make where -k might be inherited from the
top-level make via MAKEFLAGS or if you set -k in MAKEFLAGS in your
Touch files (mark them up to date without really changing them)
instead of running their commands. This is used to pretend that
the commands were done, in order to fool future invocations of
Print the version of the make program plus a copyright, a list of
authors and a notice that there is no warranty.
Print a message containing the working directory before and after
other processing. This may be useful for tracking down errors
from complicated nests of recursive make commands.
Turn off -w, even if it was turned on implicitly.
-W file, --what-if=file, --new-file=file, --assume-new=file
Pretend that the target file has just been modified. When used
with the -n flag, this shows you what would happen if you were to
modify that file. Without -n, it is almost the same as running a
touch command on the given file before running make, except that
the modification time is changed only in the imagination of make.
The GNU Make Manual
See the chapter `Problems and Bugs' in The GNU Make Manual.
This manual page contributed by Dennis Morse of Stanford University.
It has been reworked by Roland McGrath. Further updates contributed by
Copyright (C) 1992, 1993, 1996, 1999 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This file is part of GNU make.
GNU make is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the
Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any
GNU make is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT
ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or
FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License
for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along
with GNU make; see the file COPYING. If not, write to the Free Soft-
ware Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA
GNU 22 August 1989 MAKE(1)
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