make [OPTION]... [TARGET]...
The make utility will 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 main-
tained by Paul Smith. Our examples show C programs, since they are
very 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 others change.
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 description 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 makefile.
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
These options are ignored for compatibility with other versions of
Unconditionally make all targets.
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. Use n to
disable all previous debugging flags.
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
Use the latest mtime between symlinks and target.
-n, --just-print, --dry-run, --recon
Print the commands that would be executed, but do not execute them
(except in certain circumstances).
is grouped together. If type is recurse output from an entire
recursive make is grouped together. If type is none output syn-
chronization is disabled.
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
Information about the disposition of each target is printed (why
the target is being rebuilt and what commands are run to rebuild
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.
GNU make exits with a status of zero if all makefiles were successfully
parsed and no targets that were built failed. A status of one will be
returned if the -q flag was used and make determines that a target
needs to be rebuilt. A status of two will be returned if any errors
The full documentation for make is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If
the info and make programs are properly installed at your site, the
should give you access to the complete manual.
See the chapter ``Problems and Bugs'' in The GNU Make Manual.
This manual page contributed by Dennis Morse of Stanford University.
Further updates contributed by Mike Frysinger. It has been reworked by
Roland McGrath. Maintained by Paul Smith.
Copyright (C) 1992-1993, 1996-2014 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 3 of the License, or (at your
option) any later version.
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 this program. If not, see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/.
GNU 03 March 2012 MAKE(1)
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