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GNU make NEWS -*-indented-text-*-
History of user-visible changes.
20 January 2020
See the end of this file for copyrights and conditions.
All user-visible changes are more fully described in the GNU make manual,
which is contained in this distribution as the file doc/make.texi.
See the README file and the GNU make manual for instructions for
reporting bugs.
Version 4.3.90 (20 Jan 2020)
A complete list of bugs fixed in this version is available here:
Version 4.3 (19 Jan 2020)
A complete list of bugs fixed in this version is available here:
* WARNING: Backward-incompatibility!
Number signs (#) appearing inside a macro reference or function invocation
no longer introduce comments and should not be escaped with backslashes:
thus a call such as:
foo := $(shell echo '#')
is legal. Previously the number sign needed to be escaped, for example:
foo := $(shell echo '\#')
Now this latter will resolve to "\#". If you want to write makefiles
portable to both versions, assign the number sign to a variable:
H := \#
foo := $(shell echo '$H')
This was claimed to be fixed in 3.81, but wasn't, for some reason.
To detect this change search for 'nocomment' in the .FEATURES variable.
* WARNING: Backward-incompatibility!
Previously appending using '+=' to an empty variable would result in a value
starting with a space. Now the initial space is only added if the variable
already contains some value. Similarly, appending an empty string does not
add a trailing space.
* NOTE: Deprecated behavior.
Contrary to the documentation, suffix rules with prerequisites are being
treated BOTH as simple targets AND as pattern rules. Further, the
prerequisites are ignored by the pattern rules. POSIX specifies that in
order to be a suffix rule there can be no prerequisites defined. In this
release if POSIX mode is enabled then rules with prerequisites cannot be
suffix rules. If POSIX mode is not enabled then the previous behavior is
preserved (a pattern rule with no extra prerequisites is created) AND a
warning about this behavior is generated:
warning: ignoring prerequisites on suffix rule definition
The POSIX behavior will be adopted as the only behavior in a future release
of GNU make so please resolve any warnings.
* New feature: Grouped explicit targets
Pattern rules have always had the ability to generate multiple targets with
a single invocation of the recipe. It's now possible to declare that an
explicit rule generates multiple targets with a single invocation. To use
this, replace the ":" token with "&:" in the rule. To detect this feature
search for 'grouped-target' in the .FEATURES special variable.
Implementation contributed by Kaz Kylheku <>
* New feature: .EXTRA_PREREQS variable
Words in this variable are considered prerequisites of targets but they are
not added to any of the automatic variable values when expanding the
recipe. This variable can either be global (applies to all targets) or
a target-specific variable. To detect this feature search for 'extra-prereqs'
in the .FEATURES special variable.
Implementation contributed by Christof Warlich <>
* Makefiles can now specify the '-j' option in their MAKEFLAGS variable and
this will cause make to enable that parallelism mode.
* GNU make will now use posix_spawn() on systems where it is available.
If you prefer to use fork/exec even on systems where posix_spawn() is
present, you can use the --disable-posix-spawn option to configure.
Implementation contributed by Aron Barath <>
* Error messages printed when invoking non-existent commands have been cleaned
up and made consistent.
* The previous limit of 63 jobs under -jN on MS-Windows is now
increased to 4095. That limit includes the subprocess started by
the $(shell) function.
* A new option --no-silent has been added, that cancels the effect of the
-s/--silent/--quiet flag.
* A new option -E has been added as a short alias for --eval.
* All wildcard expansion within GNU make, including $(wildcard ...), will sort
the results. See
* Interoperate with newer GNU libc and musl C runtime libraries.
* Performance improvements provided by Paolo Bonzini <>
GNU make Developer News
* Import the GNU standard bootstrap script to replace the hand-rolled
"make update" method for building code from a GNU make Git repository.
* Rework the source distribution to move source files into the src/*
subdirectory. This aligns with modern best practices in GNU.
* Replace local portability code with Gnulib content. Unfortunately due to a
problem with Gnulib support for getloadavg, this forces a requirement on
Automake 1.16 or above in order to build from Git. See README.git.
Version 4.2.1 (10 Jun 2016)
A complete list of bugs fixed in this version is available here:
This release is a bug-fix release.
Version 4.2 (22 May 2016)
A complete list of bugs fixed in this version is available here:
* New variable: $(.SHELLSTATUS) is set to the exit status of the last != or
$(shell ...) function invoked in this instance of make. This will be "0" if
successful or not "0" if not successful. The variable value is unset if no
!= or $(shell ...) function has been invoked.
* The $(file ...) function can now read from a file with $(file <FILE).
The function is expanded to the contents of the file. The contents are
expanded verbatim except that the final newline, if any, is stripped.
* The makefile line numbers shown by GNU make now point directly to the
specific line in the recipe where the failure or warning occurred.
Sample changes suggested by Brian Vandenberg <>
* The interface to GNU make's "jobserver" is stable as documented in the
manual, for tools which may want to access it.
WARNING: Backward-incompatibility! The internal-only command line option
--jobserver-fds has been renamed for publishing, to --jobserver-auth.
* The amount of parallelism can be determined by querying MAKEFLAGS, even when
the job server is enabled (previously MAKEFLAGS would always contain only
"-j", with no number, when job server was enabled).
* VMS-specific changes:
* Perl test harness now works.
* Full support for converting Unix exit status codes to VMS exit status
codes. BACKWARD INCOMPATIBILITY Notice: On a child failure the VMS exit
code is now the encoded Unix exit status that Make usually generates, not
the VMS exit status of the child.
Version 4.1 (05 Oct 2014)
A complete list of bugs fixed in this version is available here:
* New variables: $(MAKE_TERMOUT) and $(MAKE_TERMERR) are set to non-empty
values if stdout or stderr, respectively, are believed to be writing to a
terminal. These variables are exported by default.
* Allow a no-text-argument form of the $(file ...) function. Without a text
argument nothing is written to the file: it is simply opened in the
requested mode, then closed again.
* Change the fatal error for mixed explicit and implicit rules, that was
introduced in GNU make 3.82, to a non-fatal error. However, this syntax is
still deprecated and may return to being illegal in a future version of GNU
make. Makefiles that rely on this syntax should be fixed.
* VMS-specific changes:
* Support for library files added, including support for using the GNV ar
* Partial support for properly encoding Unix exit status codes into VMS exit
status codes.
WARNING: Backward-incompatibility! These are different exit status codes
than Make exited with in the past.
* Macros to hold the current make command are set up to translate the
argv[0] string to a VMS format path name and prefix it with "MCR " so that
the macro has a space in it.
WARNING: Backward-incompatibility! This may break complex makefiles that
do processing on those macros. This is unlikely because so much in that
area was not and is still not currently working on VMS, it is unlikely to
find such a complex makefile, so this is more likely to impact
construction of a future makefile.
* A command file is always used to run the commands for a recipe.
WARNING: Backward-incompatibility! Running the make self tests has
exposed that there are significant differences in behavior when running
with the command file mode. It is unknown if this will be noticed by most
existing VMS makefiles.
Version 4.0 (09 Oct 2013)
A complete list of bugs fixed in this version is available here:
* WARNING: Backward-incompatibility!
If .POSIX is specified, then make adheres to the POSIX backslash/newline
handling requirements, which introduces the following changes to the
standard backslash/newline handling in non-recipe lines:
* Any trailing space before the backslash is preserved
* Each backslash/newline (plus subsequent whitespace) is converted to a
single space
* New feature: GNU Guile integration
This version of GNU make can be compiled with GNU Guile integration.
GNU Guile serves as an embedded extension language for make.
See the "Guile Function" section in the GNU Make manual for details.
Currently GNU Guile 1.8 and 2.0+ are supported. In Guile 1.8 there is no
support for internationalized character sets. In Guile 2.0+, scripts can be
encoded in UTF-8.
* New command line option: --output-sync (-O) enables grouping of output by
target or by recursive make. This is useful during parallel builds to avoid
mixing output from different jobs together giving hard-to-understand
results. Original implementation by David Boyce <>.
Reworked and enhanced by Frank Heckenbach <>.
Windows support by Eli Zaretskii <>.
* New command line option: --trace enables tracing of targets. When enabled
the recipe to be invoked is printed even if it would otherwise be suppressed
by .SILENT or a "@" prefix character. Also before each recipe is run the
makefile name and linenumber where it was defined are shown as well as the
prerequisites that caused the target to be considered out of date.
* New command line option argument: --debug now accepts a "n" (none) flag
which disables all debugging settings that are currently enabled.
* New feature: The "job server" capability is now supported on Windows.
Implementation contributed by Troy Runkel <>
* New feature: The .ONESHELL capability is now supported on Windows. Support
added by Eli Zaretskii <>.
* New feature: "!=" shell assignment operator as an alternative to the
$(shell ...) function. Implemented for compatibility with BSD makefiles.
Note there are subtle differences between "!=" and $(shell ...). See the
description in the GNU make manual.
WARNING: Backward-incompatibility!
Variables ending in "!" previously defined as "variable!= value" will now be
interpreted as shell assignment. Change your assignment to add whitespace
between the "!" and "=": "variable! = value"
* New feature: "::=" simple assignment operator as defined by POSIX in 2012.
This operator has identical functionality to ":=" in GNU make, but will be
portable to any implementation of make conforming to a sufficiently new
version of POSIX (see It is
not necessary to define the .POSIX target to access this operator.
* New feature: Loadable objects
This version of GNU make contains a "technology preview": the ability to
load dynamic objects into the make runtime. These objects can be created by
the user and can add extended functionality, usable by makefiles.
* New function: $(file ...) writes to a file.
* New variable: $(GNUMAKEFLAGS) will be parsed for make flags, just like
MAKEFLAGS is. It can be set in the environment or the makefile, containing
GNU make-specific flags to allow your makefile to be portable to other
versions of make. Once this variable is parsed, GNU make will set it to the
empty string so that flags will not be duplicated on recursion.
* New variable: `MAKE_HOST' gives the name of the host architecture
make was compiled for. This is the same value you see after 'Built for'
when running 'make --version'.
* Behavior of MAKEFLAGS and MFLAGS is more rigorously defined. All simple
flags are grouped together in the first word of MAKEFLAGS. No options that
accept arguments appear in the first word. If no simple flags are present
MAKEFLAGS begins with a space. Flags with both short and long versions
always use the short versions in MAKEFLAGS. Flags are listed in
alphabetical order using ASCII ordering. MFLAGS never begins with "- ".
* Setting the -r and -R options in MAKEFLAGS inside a makefile now works as
expected, removing all built-in rules and variables, respectively.
* If a recipe fails, the makefile name and linenumber of the recipe are shown.
* A .RECIPEPREFIX setting is remembered per-recipe and variables expanded
in that recipe also use that recipe prefix setting.
* In -p output, .RECIPEPREFIX settings are shown and all target-specific
variables are output as if in a makefile, instead of as comments.
* On MS-Windows, recipes that use ".." quoting will no longer force
invocation of commands via temporary batch files and stock Windows
shells, they will be short-circuited and invoked directly. (In
other words, " is no longer a special character for stock Windows
shells.) This avoids hitting shell limits for command length when
quotes are used, but nothing else in the command requires the shell.
This change could potentially mean some minor incompatibilities in
behavior when the recipe uses quoted string on shell command lines.
Version 3.82 (28 Jul 2010)
A complete list of bugs fixed in this version is available here:
* Compiling GNU make now requires a conforming ISO C 1989 compiler and
standard runtime library.
* WARNING: Backward-incompatibility!
The POSIX standard for make was changed in the 2008 version in a
fundamentally incompatible way: make is required to invoke the shell as if
the '-e' flag were provided. Because this would break many makefiles that
have been written to conform to the original text of the standard, the
default behavior of GNU make remains to invoke the shell with simply '-c'.
However, any makefile specifying the .POSIX special target will follow the
new POSIX standard and pass '-e' to the shell. See also .SHELLFLAGS
* WARNING: Backward-incompatibility!
The '$?' variable now contains all prerequisites that caused the target to
be considered out of date, even if they do not exist (previously only
existing targets were provided in $?).
* WARNING: Backward-incompatibility!
Wildcards were not documented as returning sorted values, but the results
have been sorted up until this release.. If your makefiles require sorted
results from wildcard expansions, use the $(sort ...) function to request
it explicitly.
* WARNING: Backward-incompatibility!
As a result of parser enhancements, three backward-compatibility issues
exist: first, a prerequisite containing an "=" cannot be escaped with a
backslash any longer. You must create a variable containing an "=" and
use that variable in the prerequisite. Second, variable names can no
longer contain whitespace, unless you put the whitespace in a variable and
use the variable. Third, in previous versions of make it was sometimes
not flagged as an error for explicit and pattern targets to appear in the
same rule. Now this is always reported as an error.
* WARNING: Backward-incompatibility!
The pattern-specific variables and pattern rules are now applied in the
shortest stem first order instead of the definition order (variables
and rules with the same stem length are still applied in the definition
order). This produces the usually-desired behavior where more specific
patterns are preferred. To detect this feature search for 'shortest-stem'
in the .FEATURES special variable.
* WARNING: Backward-incompatibility!
The library search behavior has changed to be compatible with the standard
linker behavior. Prior to this version for prerequisites specified using
the -lfoo syntax make first searched for in the current
directory, vpath directories, and system directories. If that didn't yield
a match, make then searched for libfoo.a in these directories. Starting
with this version make searches first for and then for libfoo.a
in each of these directories in order.
* New command line option: --eval=STRING causes STRING to be evaluated as
makefile syntax (akin to using the $(eval ...) function). The evaluation
is performed after all default rules and variables are defined, but before
any makefiles are read.
* New special variable: .RECIPEPREFIX allows you to reset the recipe
introduction character from the default (TAB) to something else. The
first character of this variable value is the new recipe introduction
character. If the variable is set to the empty string, TAB is used again.
It can be set and reset at will; recipes will use the value active when
they were first parsed. To detect this feature check the value of
* New special variable: .SHELLFLAGS allows you to change the options passed
to the shell when it invokes recipes. By default the value will be "-c"
(or "-ec" if .POSIX is set).
* New special target: .ONESHELL instructs make to invoke a single instance
of the shell and provide it with the entire recipe, regardless of how many
lines it contains. As a special feature to allow more straightforward
conversion of makefiles to use .ONESHELL, any recipe line control
characters ('@', '+', or '-') will be removed from the second and
subsequent recipe lines. This happens _only_ if the SHELL value is deemed
to be a standard POSIX-style shell. If not, then no interior line control
characters are removed (as they may be part of the scripting language used
with the alternate SHELL).
* New variable modifier 'private': prefixing a variable assignment with the
modifier 'private' suppresses inheritance of that variable by
prerequisites. This is most useful for target- and pattern-specific
* New make directive: 'undefine' allows you to undefine a variable so that
it appears as if it was never set. Both $(flavor) and $(origin) functions
will return 'undefined' for such a variable. To detect this feature search
for 'undefine' in the .FEATURES special variable.
* The parser for variable assignments has been enhanced to allow multiple
modifiers ('export', 'override', 'private') on the same line as variables,
including define/endef variables, and in any order. Also, it is possible
to create variables and targets named as these modifiers.
* The 'define' make directive now allows a variable assignment operator
after the variable name, to allow for simple, conditional, or appending
multi-line variable assignment.
* VMS-specific changes:
* Michael Gehre (at VISTEC-SEMI dot COM) supplied a fix for a problem with
timestamps of object modules in OLBs. The timestamps were not correctly
adjusted to GMT based time, if the local VMS time was using a daylight
saving algorithm and if daylight saving was switched off.
* John Eisenbraun (at HP dot COM) supplied fixes and and an enhancement to
append output redirection in action lines.
* Rework of ctrl+c and ctrl+y handling.
* Fix a problem with cached strings, which showed on case-insensitive file
* Build fixes for const-ified code in VMS specific sources.
* A note on appending the redirected output. With this change, a simple
mechanism is implemented to make ">>" work in action lines. In VMS
there is no simple feature like ">>" to have DCL command or program
output redirected and appended to a file. GNU make for VMS already
implements the redirection of output. If such a redirection is detected,
an ">" on the action line, GNU make creates a DCL command procedure to
execute the action and to redirect its output. Based on that, now ">>"
is also recognized and a similar but different command procedure is
created to implement the append. The main idea here is to create a
temporary file which collects the output and which is appended to the
wanted output file. Then the temporary file is deleted. This is all done
in the command procedure to keep changes in make small and simple. This
obviously has some limitations but it seems good enough compared with
the current ">" implementation. (And in my opinion, redirection is not
really what GNU make has to do.) With this approach, it may happen that
the temporary file is not yet appended and is left in SYS$SCRATCH.
The temporary file names look like "CMDxxxxx.". Any time the created
command procedure can not complete, this happens. Pressing Ctrl+Y to
abort make is one case. In case of Ctrl+Y the associated command
procedure is left in SYS$SCRATCH as well. Its name is CMDxxxxx.COM.
* Change in the Ctrl+Y handling. The CtrlY handler now uses $delprc to
delete all children. This way also actions with DCL commands will be
stopped. As before the CtrlY handler then sends SIGQUIT to itself,
which is handled in common code.
* Change in deleteing temporary command files. Temporary command files
are now deleted in the vms child termination handler. That deletes
them even if a Ctrl+C was pressed.
* The behavior of pressing Ctrl+C is not changed. It still has only an
effect, after the current action is terminated. If that doesn't happen
or takes too long, Ctrl+Y should be used instead.
Version 3.81 (01 Apr 2006)
* GNU make is ported to OS/2.
* GNU make is ported to MinGW. The MinGW build is only supported by
the build_w32.bat batch file; see the file README.W32 for more
* WARNING: Future backward-incompatibility!
Up to and including this release, the '$?' variable does not contain
any prerequisite that does not exist, even though that prerequisite
might have caused the target to rebuild. Starting with the _next_
release of GNU make, '$?' will contain all prerequisites that caused
the target to be considered out of date.
* WARNING: Backward-incompatibility!
GNU make now implements a generic "second expansion" feature on the
prerequisites of both explicit and implicit (pattern) rules. In order
to enable this feature, the special target '.SECONDEXPANSION' must be
defined before the first target which takes advantage of it. If this
feature is enabled then after all rules have been parsed the
prerequisites are expanded again, this time with all the automatic
variables in scope. This means that in addition to using standard
SysV $$@ in prerequisites lists, you can also use complex functions
such as $$(notdir $$@) etc. This behavior applies to implicit rules,
as well, where the second expansion occurs when the rule is matched.
However, this means that when '.SECONDEXPANSION' is enabled you must
double-quote any "$" in your filenames; instead of "foo: boo$$bar" you
now must write "foo: foo$$$$bar". Note that the SysV $$@ etc. feature,
which used to be available by default, is now ONLY available when the
.SECONDEXPANSION target is defined. If your makefiles take advantage
of this SysV feature you will need to update them.
* WARNING: Backward-incompatibility!
In order to comply with POSIX, the way in which GNU make processes
backslash-newline sequences in recipes has changed. If your makefiles
use backslash-newline sequences inside of single-quoted strings in
recipes you will be impacted by this change. See the GNU make manual
subsection "Splitting Recipe Lines" (node "Splitting Lines"), in
section "Recipe Syntax", chapter "Writing Recipe in Rules", for
* WARNING: Backward-incompatibility!
Some previous versions of GNU make had a bug where "#" in a function
invocation such as $(shell ...) was treated as a make comment. A
workaround was to escape these with backslashes. This bug has been
fixed: if your makefile uses "\#" in a function invocation the
backslash is now preserved, so you'll need to remove it.
* New command line option: -L (--check-symlink-times). On systems that
support symbolic links, if this option is given then GNU make will
use the most recent modification time of any symbolic links that are
used to resolve target files. The default behavior remains as it
always has: use the modification time of the actual target file only.
* The "else" conditional line can now be followed by any other valid
conditional on the same line: this does not increase the depth of the
conditional nesting, so only one "endif" is required to close the
* All pattern-specific variables that match a given target are now used
(previously only the first match was used).
* Target-specific variables can be marked as exportable using the
"export" keyword.
* In a recursive $(call ...) context, any extra arguments from the outer
call are now masked in the context of the inner call.
* Implemented a solution for the "thundering herd" problem with "-j -l".
This version of GNU make uses an algorithm suggested by Thomas Riedl
<> to track the number of jobs started in the
last second and artificially adjust GNU make's view of the system's
load average accordingly.
* New special variables available in this release:
- .INCLUDE_DIRS: Expands to a list of directories that make searches
for included makefiles.
- .FEATURES: Contains a list of special features available in this
version of GNU make.
- .DEFAULT_GOAL: Set the name of the default goal make will
use if no goals are provided on the command line.
- MAKE_RESTARTS: If set, then this is the number of times this
instance of make has been restarted (see "How Makefiles Are Remade"
in the manual).
- New automatic variable: $| (added in 3.80, actually): contains all
the order-only prerequisites defined for the target.
* New functions available in this release:
- $(lastword ...) returns the last word in the list. This gives
identical results as $(word $(words ...) ...), but is much faster.
- $(abspath ...) returns the absolute path (all "." and ".."
directories resolved, and any duplicate "/" characters removed) for
each path provided.
- $(realpath ...) returns the canonical pathname for each path
provided. The canonical pathname is the absolute pathname, with
all symbolic links resolved as well.
- $(info ...) prints its arguments to stdout. No makefile name or
line number info, etc. is printed.
- $(flavor ...) returns the flavor of a variable.
- $(or ...) provides a short-circuiting OR conditional: each argument
is expanded. The first true (non-empty) argument is returned; no
further arguments are expanded. Expands to empty if there are no
true arguments.
- $(and ...) provides a short-circuiting AND conditional: each
argument is expanded. The first false (empty) argument is
returned; no further arguments are expanded. Expands to the last
argument if all arguments are true.
* Changes made for POSIX compatibility:
- Only touch targets (under -t) if they have a recipe.
- Setting the SHELL make variable does NOT change the value of the
SHELL environment variable given to programs invoked by make. As
an enhancement to POSIX, if you export the make variable SHELL then
it will be set in the environment, just as before.
* On MS Windows systems, explicitly setting SHELL to a pathname ending
in "cmd" or "cmd.exe" (case-insensitive) will force GNU make to use
the DOS command interpreter in batch mode even if a UNIX-like shell
could be found on the system.
* On VMS there is now support for case-sensitive filesystems such as ODS5.
See the README.VMS file for information.
* Parallel builds (-jN) no longer require a working Bourne shell on
Windows platforms. They work even with the stock Windows shells, such
as cmd.exe and
* Updated to autoconf 2.59, automake 1.9.5, and gettext 0.14.1. Users
should not be impacted.
* New translations for Swedish, Chinese (simplified), Ukrainian,
Belarusian, Finnish, Kinyarwandan, and Irish. Many updated
A complete list of bugs fixed in this version is available here:
Version 3.80 (03 Oct 2002)
* A new feature exists: order-only prerequisites. These prerequisites
affect the order in which targets are built, but they do not impact
the rebuild/no-rebuild decision of their dependents. That is to say,
they allow you to require target B be built before target A, without
requiring that target A will always be rebuilt if target B is updated.
Patch for this feature provided by Greg McGary <>.
* For compatibility with SysV make, GNU make now supports the peculiar
syntax $$@, $$(@D), and $$(@F) in the prerequisites list of a rule.
This syntax is only valid within explicit and static pattern rules: it
cannot be used in implicit (suffix or pattern) rules. Edouard G. Parmelan
<> provided a patch implementing this feature; however, I
decided to implement it in a different way.
* The argument to the "ifdef" conditional is now expanded before it's
tested, so it can be a constructed variable name.
Similarly, the arguments to "export" (when not used in a variable
definition context) and "unexport" are also now expanded.
* A new function is defined: $(value ...). The argument to this
function is the _name_ of a variable. The result of the function is
the value of the variable, without having been expanded.
* A new function is defined: $(eval ...). The arguments to this
function should expand to makefile commands, which will then be
evaluated as if they had appeared in the makefile. In combination
with define/endef multiline variable definitions this is an extremely
powerful capability. The $(value ...) function is also sometimes
useful here.
* A new built-in variable is defined, $(MAKEFILE_LIST). It contains a
list of each makefile GNU make has read, or started to read, in the
order in which they were encountered. So, the last filename in the
list when a makefile is just being read (before any includes) is the
name of the current makefile.
* A new built-in variable is defined: $(.VARIABLES). When it is
expanded it returns a complete list of variable names defined by all
makefiles at that moment.
* A new command line option is defined, -B or --always-make. If
specified GNU make will consider all targets out-of-date even if they
would otherwise not be.
* The arguments to $(call ...) functions were being stored in $1, $2,
etc. as recursive variables, even though they are fully expanded
before assignment. This means that escaped dollar signs ($$ etc.)
were not behaving properly. Now the arguments are stored as simple
variables. This may mean that if you added extra escaping to your
$(call ...) function arguments you will need to undo it now.
* The variable invoked by $(call ...) can now be recursive: unlike other
variables it can reference itself and this will not produce an error
when it is used as the first argument to $(call ...) (but only then).
* New pseudo-target .LOW_RESOLUTION_TIME, superseding the configure
option --disable-nsec-timestamps. You might need this if your build
process depends on tools like "cp -p" preserving time stamps, since
"cp -p" (right now) doesn't preserve the subsecond portion of a time
* Updated translations for French, Galician, German, Japanese, Korean,
and Russian. New translations for Croatian, Danish, Hebrew, and
* Updated internationalization support to Gettext 0.11.5.
GNU make now uses Gettext's "external" feature, and does not include
any internationalization code itself. Configure will search your
system for an existing implementation of GNU Gettext (only GNU Gettext
is acceptable) and use it if it exists. If not, NLS will be disabled.
See ABOUT-NLS for more information.
* Updated to autoconf 2.54 and automake 1.7. Users should not be impacted.
* VMS-specific changes:
* In default.c define variable ARCH as IA64 for VMS on Itanium systems.
* In makefile.vms avoid name collision for glob and globfree.
* This is the VMS port of GNU Make done by
It is based on the specific version 3.77k and on 3.78.1. 3.77k was done
by Klaus Kämpf <>, the code was based on the VMS port of
GNU Make 3.60 by Mike Moretti.
It was ported on OpenVMS/Alpha V7.1, DECC V5.7-006. It was re-build and
tested on OpenVMS/Alpha V7.2, OpenVMS/VAX 7.1 and 5.5-2. Different
versions of DECC were used. VAXC was tried: it fails; but it doesn't
seem worth to get it working. There are still some PTRMISMATCH warnings
during the compile. Although perl is working on VMS the test scripts
don't work. The function $shell is still missing.
There is a known bug in some of the VMS CRTLs. It is in the shipped
versions of VMS V7.2 and V7.2-1 and in the currently (October 1999)
available ECOs for VMS V7.1 and newer versions. It is fixed in versions
shipped with newer VMS versions and all ECO kits after October 1999. It
only shows up during the daylight saving time period (DST): stat()
returns a modification time 1 hour ahead. This results in GNU make
warning messages. For a just created source you will see:
$ gmake x.exe
gmake.exe;1: *** Warning: File 'x.c' has modification time in the future
(940582863 > 940579269)
cc /obj=x.obj x.c
link x.obj /exe=x.exe
gmake.exe;1: *** Warning: Clock skew detected. Your build may be
A complete list of bugs fixed in this version is available here:
Version 3.79.1 (23 Jun 2000)
* .SECONDARY with no prerequisites now prevents any target from being
removed because make thinks it's an intermediate file, not just those
listed in the makefile.
* New configure option --disable-nsec-timestamps, but this was
superseded in later versions by the .LOW_RESOLUTION_TIME pseudo-target.
Version 3.79 (04 Apr 2000)
* GNU make optionally supports internationalization and locales via the
GNU gettext (or local gettext if suitable) package. See the ABOUT-NLS
file for more information on configuring GNU make for NLS.
* Previously, GNU make quoted variables such as MAKEFLAGS and
MAKEOVERRIDES for proper parsing by the shell. This allowed them to
be used within make build scripts. However, using them there is not
proper behavior: they are meant to be passed to subshells via the
environment. Unfortunately the values were not quoted properly to be
passed through the environment. This meant that make didn't properly
pass some types of command line values to submakes.
With this version we change that behavior: now these variables are
quoted properly for passing through the environment, which is the
correct way to do it. If you previously used these variables
explicitly within a make rule you may need to re-examine your use for
correctness given this change.
* A new pseudo-target .NOTPARALLEL is available. If defined, the
current makefile is run serially regardless of the value of -j.
However, submakes are still eligible for parallel execution.
* The --debug option has changed: it now allows optional flags
controlling the amount and type of debugging output. By default only
a minimal amount information is generated, displaying the names of
"normal" targets (not makefiles) that were deemed out of date and in
need of being rebuilt.
Note that the -d option behaves as before: it takes no arguments and
all debugging information is generated.
* The `-p' (print database) output now includes filename and linenumber
information for variable definitions, to aid debugging.
* The wordlist function no longer reverses its arguments if the "start"
value is greater than the "end" value. If that's true, nothing is
* Hartmut Becker provided many updates for the VMS port of GNU make.
See the README.VMS file for more details.
* VMS-specific changes:
* Fix a problem with automatically remaking makefiles. GNU make uses an
execve to restart itself after a successful remake of the makefile. On
UNIX systems execve replaces the running program with a new one and
resets all signal handling to the default. On VMS execve creates a child
process, signal and exit handlers of the parent are still active, and,
unfortunately, corrupt the exit code from the child. Fix in job.c:
ignore SIGCHLD.
* Added some switches to reflect latest features of DECC. Modifications in
* Set some definitions to reflect latest features of DECC. Modifications in
config.h-vms (which is copied to config.h).
* Added extern strcmpi declaration to avoid 'implicitly declared' messages.
Modification in make.h.
* Default rule for C++, conditionals for gcc (GCC_IS_NATIVE) or DEC/Digital/
Compaq c/c++ compilers. Modifications in default.c.
* Usage of opendir() and friends, suppress file version. Modifications in
* Added VMS specific code to handle ctrl+c and ctrl+y to abort make.
Modifications in job.c.
* Added support to have case sensitive targets and dependencies but to
still use case blind file names. This is especially useful for Java
makefiles on VMS:
.SUFFIXES : .class .java
.java.class :
javac "$<
HelloWorld.class :
* A new macro WANT_CASE_SENSITIVE_TARGETS in config.h-vms was introduced.
It needs to be enabled to get this feature; default is disabled. The
macro HAVE_CASE_INSENSITIVE_FS must not be touched: it is still enabled.
Modifications in file.c and config.h-vms.
* Bootstrap make to start building make is still, but make
needs to be re-made with a make to make a correct version: ignore all
possible warnings, delete all objects, rename make.exe to a different
name and run it.
* Made some minor modifications to the bootstrap build
Version 3.78 (22 Sep 1999)
* Two new functions, $(error ...) and $(warning ...) are available. The
former will cause make to fail and exit immediately upon expansion of
the function, with the text provided as the error message. The latter
causes the text provided to be printed as a warning message, but make
proceeds normally.
* A new function $(call ...) is available. This allows users to create
their own parameterized macros and invoke them later. Original
implementation of this function was provided by Han-Wen Nienhuys
* A new function $(if ...) is available. It provides if-then-else
capabilities in a builtin function. Original implementation of this
function was provided by Han-Wen Nienhuys <>.
* Make defines a new variable, .LIBPATTERNS. This variable controls how
library dependency expansion (dependencies like ``-lfoo'') is performed.
* Make accepts CRLF sequences as well as traditional LF, for
compatibility with makefiles created on other operating systems.
* Make accepts a new option: -R, or --no-builtin-variables. This option
disables the definition of the rule-specific builtin variables (CC,
LD, AR, etc.). Specifying this option forces -r (--no-builtin-rules)
as well.
* A "job server" feature, suggested by Howard Chu <>.
On systems that support POSIX pipe(2) semantics, GNU make can now pass
-jN options to submakes rather than forcing them all to use -j1. The
top make and all its sub-make processes use a pipe to communicate with
each other to ensure that no more than N jobs are started across all
makes. To get the old behavior of -j back, you can configure make
with the --disable-job-server option.
* The confusing term "dependency" has been replaced by the more accurate
and standard term "prerequisite", both in the manual and in all GNU make
* GNU make supports the "big archive" library format introduced in AIX 4.3.
* GNU make supports large files on AIX, HP-UX, and IRIX. These changes
were provided by Paul Eggert <>. (Large file
support for Solaris and Linux was introduced in 3.77, but the
configuration had issues: these have also been resolved).
* The Windows 95/98/NT (W32) version of GNU make now has native support
for the Cygnus Cygwin release B20.1 shell (bash).
* The GNU make regression test suite, long available separately "under
the table", has been integrated into the release. You can invoke it
by running "make check" in the distribution. Note that it requires
Perl (either Perl 4 or Perl 5) to run.
Version 3.77 (28 Jul 1998)
* Implement BSD make's "?=" variable assignment operator. The variable
is assigned the specified value only if that variable is not already
* Make defines a new variable, "CURDIR", to contain the current working
directory (after the -C option, if any, has been processed).
Modifying this variable has no effect on the operation of make.
* Make defines a new default RCS rule, for new-style master file
storage: ``% :: RCS/%'' (note no ``,v'' suffix).
Make defines new default rules for DOS-style C++ file naming
conventions, with ``.cpp'' suffixes. All the same rules as for
``.cc'' and ``.C'' suffixes are provided, along with LINK.cpp and
COMPILE.cpp macros (which default to the same value as and Note CPPFLAGS is still C preprocessor flags! You should
use CXXFLAGS to change C++ compiler flags.
* A new feature, "target-specific variable values", has been added.
This is a large change so please see the appropriate sections of the
manual for full details. Briefly, syntax like this:
defines VARIABLE as VALUE within the context of TARGET. This is
similar to SunOS make's "TARGET := VARIABLE = VALUE" feature. Note
that the assignment may be of any type, not just recursive, and that
the override keyword is available.
COMPATIBILITY: This new syntax means that if you have any rules where
the first or second dependency has an equal sign (=) in its name,
you'll have to escape them with a backslash: "foo : bar\=baz".
Further, if you have any dependencies which already contain "\=",
you'll have to escape both of them: "foo : bar\\\=baz".
* A new appendix listing the most common error and warning messages
generated by GNU make, with some explanation, has been added to the
GNU make User's Manual.
* Updates to the GNU make Customs library support (see README.customs).
* Updates to the Windows 95/NT port from Rob Tulloh (see README.W32),
and to the DOS port from Eli Zaretski (see README.DOS).
* VMS-specific changes:
* This is the VMS port of GNU Make.
It is based on the VMS port of GNU Make 3.60 by Mike Moretti.
This port was done by Klaus Kämpf <>
* There is first-level support available from proGIS Software, Germany.
Visit their web-site at to get information
about other vms software and forthcoming updates to gnu make.
* /bin/sh style I/O redirection is supported. You can now write lines like
mcr sys$disk:[]program.exe < input.txt > output.txt &> error.txt
* Makefile variables are looked up in the current environment. You can set
symbols or logicals in DCL and evaluate them in the Makefile via
$(<name-of-symbol-or-logical>). Variables defined in the Makefile
override VMS symbols/logicals !
* Functions for file names are working now. See the GNU Make manual for
$(dir ...) and $(wildcard ...). Unix-style and VMS-style names are
supported as arguments.
* The default rules are set up for GNU C. Building an executable from a
single source file is as easy as 'make file.exe'.
* The variable $(ARCH) is predefined as ALPHA or VAX resp. Makefiles for
different VMS systems can now be written by checking $(ARCH) as in
ifeq ($(ARCH),ALPHA)
$(ECHO) "On the Alpha"
$(ECHO) "On the VAX"
* Command lines of excessive length are correctly broken and written to a
batch file in sys$scratch for later execution. There's no limit to the
lengths of commands (and no need for .opt files :-) any more.
* Empty commands are handled correctly and don't end in a new DCL process.
Version 3.76.1 (19 Sep 1997)
* Small (but serious) bug fix. Quick rollout to get into the GNU source CD.
Version 3.76 (16 Sep 1997)
* GNU make now uses automake to control generation. This
should make it more consistent with the GNU standards.
* VPATH functionality has been changed to incorporate the VPATH+ patch,
previously maintained by Paul Smith <>. See the
* Make defines a new variable, `MAKECMDGOALS', to contain the goals that
were specified on the command line, if any. Modifying this variable
has no effect on the operation of make.
* A new function, `$(wordlist S,E,TEXT)', is available: it returns a
list of words from number S to number E (inclusive) of TEXT.
* Instead of an error, detection of future modification times gives a
warning and continues. The warning is repeated just before GNU make
exits, so it is less likely to be lost.
* Fix the $(basename) and $(suffix) functions so they only operate on
the last filename, not the entire string:
Command Old Result New Result
------- ---------- ----------
$(basename a.b) a a
$(basename a.b/c) a a.b/c
$(suffix a.b) b b
$(suffix a.b/c) b/c <empty>
* The $(strip) function now removes newlines as well as TABs and spaces.
* The $(shell) function now changes CRLF (\r\n) pairs to a space as well
as newlines (\n).
* Updates to the Windows 95/NT port from Rob Tulloh (see README.W32).
* Eli Zaretskii has updated the port to 32-bit protected mode on MSDOS
and MS-Windows, building with the DJGPP v2 port of GNU C/C++ compiler
and utilities. See README.DOS for details, and direct all questions
concerning this port to Eli Zaretskii <> or DJ
Delorie <>.
* VMS-specific changes:
* John W. Eaton has updated the VMS port to support libraries and VPATH.
* The cd command is supported if it's called as $(CD). This invokes
the 'builtin_cd' command which changes the directory.
Calling 'set def' doesn't do the trick, since a sub-shell is
spawned for this command, the directory is changed *in this sub-shell*
and the sub-shell ends.
* Libraries are not supported. They were in GNU Make 3.60 but somehow I
didn't care porting the code. If there is enough interest, I'll do it at
some later time.
* The variable $^ separates files with commas instead of spaces (It's the
natural thing to do for VMS).
* See defaults.c for VMS default suffixes and my definitions for default
rules and variables.
* The shell function is not implemented yet.
* Load average routines haven't been implemented for VMS yet.
* The default include directory for including other makefiles is
SYS$SYSROOT:[SYSLIB] (I don't remember why I didn't just use
SYS$LIBRARY: instead; maybe it wouldn't work that way).
* The default makefiles make looks for are: makefile.vms, gnumakefile,
makefile., and gnumakefile. .
* The stat() function and handling of time stamps in VMS is broken, so I
replaced it with a hack in vmsfunctions.c. I will provide a full rewrite
somewhere in the future. Be warned, the time resolution inside make is
less than what vms provides. This might be a problem on the faster Alphas.
* You can use a : in a filename only if you precede it with a backslash ('\').
E.g.- hobbes\:[bogas.files]
* Make ignores success, informational, or warning errors (-S-, -I-, or -W-).
But it will stop on -E- and -F- errors. (unless you do something
to override this in your makefile, or whatever).
* Remote stuff isn't implemented yet.
* Multiple line DCL commands, such as "if" statements, must be put inside
command files. You can run a command file by using \@.
Version 3.75 (27 Aug 1996)
* The directory messages printed by `-w' and implicitly in sub-makes,
are now omitted if Make runs no commands and has no other messages to print.
* Make now detects files that for whatever reason have modification times
in the future and gives an error. Files with such impossible timestamps
can result from unsynchronized clocks, or archived distributions
containing bogus timestamps; they confuse Make's dependency engine
* The new directive `sinclude' is now recognized as another name for
`-include', for compatibility with some other Makes.
* Aaron Digulla has contributed a port to AmigaDOS. See README.Amiga for
details, and direct all Amiga-related questions to <>.
* Rob Tulloh of Tivoli Systems has contributed a port to Windows NT or 95.
See README.W32 for details, and direct all Windows-related questions to
* VMS-specific changes:
* Lots of default settings are adapted for VMS. See default.c.
* Long command lines are now converted to command files.
* Comma (',') as a separator is now allowed. See makefile.vms for an example.
Version 3.73 (05 Apr 1995)
* Converted to use Autoconf version 2, so `configure' has some new options.
See INSTALL for details.
* You can now send a SIGUSR1 signal to Make to toggle printing of debugging
output enabled by -d, at any time during the run.
Version 3.72 (04 Nov 1994)
* DJ Delorie has ported Make to MS-DOS using the GO32 extender.
He is maintaining the DOS port, not the GNU Make maintainer;
please direct bugs and questions for DOS to <>.
MS-DOS binaries are available for FTP from in
* The `MAKEFLAGS' variable (in the environment or in a makefile) can now
contain variable definitions itself; these are treated just like
command line variable definitions. Make will automatically insert any
variable definitions from the environment value of `MAKEFLAGS' or from
the command line, into the `MAKEFLAGS' value exported to children. The
`MAKEOVERRIDES' variable previously included in the value of `$(MAKE)'
for sub-makes is now included in `MAKEFLAGS' instead. As before, you can
reset `MAKEOVERRIDES' in your makefile to avoid putting all the variables
in the environment when its size is limited.
* If `.DELETE_ON_ERROR' appears as a target, Make will delete the target of
a rule if it has changed when its recipe exits with a nonzero status,
just as when the recipe gets a signal.
* The automatic variable `$+' is new. It lists all the dependencies like
`$^', but preserves duplicates listed in the makefile. This is useful
for linking rules, where library files sometimes need to be listed twice
in the link order.
* You can now specify the `.IGNORE' and `.SILENT' special targets with
dependencies to limit their effects to those files. If a file appears as
a dependency of `.IGNORE', then errors will be ignored while running the
recipe to update that file. Likewise if a file appears as a dependency
of `.SILENT', then the recipe to update that file will not be printed
before it is run. (This change was made to conform to POSIX.2.)
Version 3.71 (21 May 1994)
* The automatic variables `$(@D)', `$(%D)', `$(*D)', `$(<D)', `$(?D)', and
`$(^D)' now omit the trailing slash from the directory name. (This change
was made to comply with POSIX.2.)
* The source distribution now includes the Info files for the Make manual.
There is no longer a separate distribution containing Info and DVI files.
* You can now set the variables `binprefix' and/or `manprefix' in (or on the command line when installing) to install GNU make
under a name other than `make' (i.e., ``make binprefix=g install''
installs GNU make as `gmake').
* The built-in Texinfo rules use the new variables `TEXI2DVI_FLAGS' for
flags to the `texi2dvi' script, and `MAKEINFO_FLAGS' for flags to the
Makeinfo program.
* The exit status of Make when it runs into errors is now 2 instead of 1.
The exit status is 1 only when using -q and some target is not up to date.
(This change was made to comply with POSIX.2.)
Version 3.70 (03 Jan 1994)
* It is no longer a fatal error to have a NUL character in a makefile.
You should never put a NUL in a makefile because it can have strange
results, but otherwise empty lines full of NULs (such as produced by
the `xmkmf' program) will always work fine.
* The error messages for nonexistent included makefiles now refer to the
makefile name and line number where the `include' appeared, so Emacs's
C-x ` command takes you there (in case it's a typo you need to fix).
Version 3.69 (07 Nov 1993)
* Implicit rule search for archive member references is now done in the
opposite order from previous versions: the whole target name `LIB(MEM)'
first, and just the member name and parentheses `(MEM)' second.
* Make now gives an error for an unterminated variable or function reference.
For example, `$(foo' with no matching `)' or `${bar' with no matching `}'.
* The new default variable `MAKE_VERSION' gives the version number of
Make, and a string describing the remote job support compiled in (if any).
Thus the value (in this release) is something like `3.69' or `3.69-Customs'.
* Commands in an invocation of the `shell' function are no longer run
with a modified environment like recipes are. As in versions before
3.68, they now run with the environment that `make' started with. We
have reversed the change made in version 3.68 because it turned out to
cause a paradoxical situation in cases like:
export variable = $(shell echo value)
When Make attempted to put this variable in the environment for a
recipe, it would try expand the value by running the shell command
`echo value'. In version 3.68, because it constructed an environment
for that shell command in the same way, Make would begin to go into an
infinite loop and then get a fatal error when it detected the loop.
* The recipe given for `.DEFAULT' is now used for phony targets with no
Version 3.68 (28 Jul 1993)
* You can list several archive member names inside parenthesis:
`lib(mem1 mem2 mem3)' is equivalent to `lib(mem1) lib(mem2) lib(mem3)'.
* You can use wildcards inside archive member references. For example,
`lib(*.o)' expands to all existing members of `lib' whose names end in
`.o' (e.g. `lib(a.o) lib(b.o)'); `*.a(*.o)' expands to all such members
of all existing files whose names end in `.a' (e.g. `foo.a(a.o)
foo.a(b.o) bar.a(c.o) bar.a(d.o)'.
* A suffix rule `.X.a' now produces two pattern rules:
(%.o): %.X # Previous versions produced only this.
%.a: %.X # Now produces this as well, just like other suffixes.
* The new flag `--warn-undefined-variables' says to issue a warning message
whenever Make expands a reference to an undefined variable.
* The new `-include' directive is just like `include' except that there is
no error (not even a warning) for a nonexistent makefile.
* Commands in an invocation of the `shell' function are now run with a
modified environment like recipes are, so you can use `export' et al
to set up variables for them. They used to run with the environment
that `make' started with.
Version 3.66 (21 May 1993)
* `make --version' (or `make -v') now exits immediately after printing
the version number.
Version 3.65 (09 May 1993)
* Make now supports long-named members in `ar' archive files.
Version 3.64 (21 Apr 1993)
* Make now supports the `+=' syntax for a variable definition which appends
to the variable's previous value. See the section `Appending More Text
to Variables' in the manual for full details.
* The new option `--no-print-directory' inhibits the `-w' or
`--print-directory' feature. Make turns on `--print-directory'
automatically if you use `-C' or `--directory', and in sub-makes; some
users have found this behavior undesirable.
* The built-in implicit rules now support the alternative extension
`.txinfo' for Texinfo files, just like `.texinfo' and `.texi'.
Version 3.63 (22 Jan 1993)
* Make now uses a standard GNU `configure' script. See the new file
INSTALL for the new (and much simpler) installation procedure.
* There is now a shell script to build Make the first time, if you have no
other `make' program. `' is created by `configure'; see README.
* GNU Make now completely conforms to the POSIX.2 specification for `make'.
* Elements of the `$^' and `$?' automatic variables that are archive
member references now list only the member name, as in Unix and POSIX.2.
* You should no longer ever need to specify the `-w' switch, which prints
the current directory before and after Make runs. The `-C' switch to
change directory, and recursive use of Make, now set `-w' automatically.
* Multiple double-colon rules for the same target will no longer have their
recipes run simultaneously under -j, as this could result in the two
recipes trying to change the file at the same time and interfering with
one another.
* The `SHELL' variable is now never taken from the environment.
Each makefile that wants a shell other than the default (/bin/sh) must
set SHELL itself. SHELL is always exported to child processes.
This change was made for compatibility with POSIX.2.
* Make now accepts long options. There is now an informative usage message
that tells you what all the options are and what they do. Try `make --help'.
* There are two new directives: `export' and `unexport'. All variables are
no longer automatically put into the environments of the recipe lines that
Make runs. Instead, only variables specified on the command line or in
the environment are exported by default. To export others, use:
or you can define variables with:
You can use just:
to get the old behavior. See the node `Variables/Recursion' in the manual
for a full description.
* The recipe from the `.DEFAULT' special target is only applied to
targets which have no rules at all, not all targets with no recipe.
This change was made for compatibility with Unix make.
* All fatal error messages now contain `***', so they are easy to find in
compilation logs.
* Dependency file names like `-lNAME' are now replaced with the actual file
name found, as with files found by normal directory search (VPATH).
The library file `libNAME.a' may now be found in the current directory,
which is checked before VPATH; the standard set of directories (/lib,
/usr/lib, /usr/local/lib) is now checked last.
See the node `Libraries/Search' in the manual for full details.
* A single `include' directive can now specify more than one makefile to
include, like this:
include file1 file2
You can also use shell file name patterns in an `include' directive:
include *.mk
* The default directories to search for included makefiles, and for
libraries specified with `-lNAME', are now set by configuration.
* You can now use blanks as well as colons to separate the directories in a
search path for the `vpath' directive or the `VPATH' variable.
* You can now use variables and functions in the left hand side of a
variable assignment, as in "$(foo)bar = value".
* The `MAKE' variable is always defined as `$(MAKE_COMMAND) $(MAKEOVERRIDES)'.
The `MAKE_COMMAND' variable is now defined to the name with which make
was invoked.
* The built-in rules for C++ compilation now use the variables `$(CXX)' and
`$(CXXFLAGS)' instead of `$(C++)' and `$(C++FLAGS)'. The old names had
problems with shells that cannot have `+' in environment variable names.
* The value of a recursively expanded variable is now expanded when putting
it into the environment for child processes. This change was made for
compatibility with Unix make.
* A rule with no targets before the `:' is now accepted and ignored.
This change was made for compatibility with SunOS 4 make.
We do not recommend that you write your makefiles to take advantage of this.
* The `-I' switch can now be used in MAKEFLAGS, and are put there
automatically just like other switches.
Version 3.61
* Built-in rules for C++ source files with the `.C' suffix.
We still recommend that you use `.cc' instead.
* If a recipe is given too many times for a single target, the last one
given is used, and a warning message is printed.
* Error messages about makefiles are in standard GNU error format,
so C-x ` in Emacs works on them.
* Dependencies of pattern rules which contain no % need not actually exist
if they can be created (just like dependencies which do have a %).
Version 3.60
* A message is always printed when Make decides there is nothing to be done.
It used to be that no message was printed for top-level phony targets
(because "`phony' is up to date" isn't quite right). Now a different
message "Nothing to be done for `phony'" is printed in that case.
* Archives on AIX now supposedly work.
* When the recipes specified for .DEFAULT are used to update a target,
the $< automatic variable is given the same value as $@ for that target.
This is how Unix make behaves, and this behavior is mandated by POSIX.2.
Version 3.59
* The -n, -q, and -t options are not put in the `MAKEFLAGS' and `MFLAG'
variables while remaking makefiles, so recursive makes done while remaking
makefiles will behave properly.
* If the special target `.NOEXPORT' is specified in a makefile,
only variables that came from the environment and variables
defined on the command line are exported.
Version 3.58
* Suffix rules may have dependencies (which are ignored).
Version 3.57
* Dependencies of the form `-lLIB' are searched for as /usr/local/lib/libLIB.a
as well as libLIB.a in /usr/lib, /lib, the current directory, and VPATH.
Version 3.55
* There is now a Unix man page for GNU Make. It is certainly not a
replacement for the Texinfo manual, but it documents the basic
functionality and the switches. For full documentation, you should
still read the Texinfo manual. Thanks to Dennis Morse of Stanford
University for contributing the initial version of this.
* Variables which are defined by default (e.g., `CC') will no longer be
put into the environment for child processes. (If these variables are
reset by the environment, makefiles, or the command line, they will
still go into the environment.)
* Makefiles which have recipes but no dependencies (and thus are always
considered out of date and in need of remaking), will not be remade (if they
were being remade only because they were makefiles). This means that GNU
Make will no longer go into an infinite loop when fed the makefiles that
`imake' (necessary to build X Windows) produces.
* There is no longer a warning for using the `vpath' directive with an explicit
pathname (instead of a `%' pattern).
Version 3.51
* When removing intermediate files, only one `rm' command line is printed,
listing all file names.
* There are now automatic variables `$(^D)', `$(^F)', `$(?D)', and `$(?F)'.
These are the directory-only and file-only versions of `$^' and `$?'.
* Library dependencies given as `-lNAME' will use "libNAME.a" in the current
directory if it exists.
* The automatic variable `$($/)' is no longer defined.
* Leading `+' characters on a recipe line make that line be executed even
under -n, -t, or -q (as if the line contained `$(MAKE)').
* For recipe lines containing `$(MAKE)', `${MAKE}', or leading `+' characters,
only those lines are executed, not the entire recipe.
(This is how Unix make behaves for lines containing `$(MAKE)' or `${MAKE}'.)
Version 3.50
* Filenames in rules will now have ~ and ~USER expanded.
* The `-p' output has been changed so it can be used as a makefile.
(All information that isn't specified by makefiles is prefaced with comment
Version 3.49
* The % character can be quoted with backslash in implicit pattern rules,
static pattern rules, `vpath' directives, and `patsubst', `filter', and
`filter-out' functions. A warning is issued if a `vpath' directive's
pattern contains no %.
* The `wildcard' variable expansion function now expands ~ and ~USER.
* Messages indicating failed recipe lines now contain the target name:
make: *** [target] Error 1
* The `-p' output format has been changed somewhat to look more like
makefile rules and to give all information that Make has about files.
Version 3.48
Version 3.47
* The `-l' switch with no argument removes any previous load-average limit.
* When the `-w' switch is in effect, and Make has updated makefiles,
it will write a `Leaving directory' message before re-executing itself.
This makes the `directory change tracking' changes to Emacs's compilation
commands work properly.
Version 3.46
* The automatic variable `$*' is now defined for explicit rules,
as it is in Unix make.
Version 3.45
* The `-j' switch is now put in the MAKEFLAGS and MFLAGS variables when
specified without an argument (indicating infinite jobs).
The `-l' switch is not always put in the MAKEFLAGS and MFLAGS variables.
* Make no longer checks hashed directories after running recipes.
The behavior implemented in 3.41 caused too much slowdown.
Version 3.44
* A dependency is NOT considered newer than its dependent if
they have the same modification time. The behavior implemented
in 3.43 conflicts with RCS.
Version 3.43
* Dependency loops are no longer fatal errors.
* A dependency is considered newer than its dependent if
they have the same modification time.
Version 3.42
* The variables F77 and F77FLAGS are now set by default to $(FC) and
$(FFLAGS). Makefiles designed for System V make may use these variables in
explicit rules and expect them to be set. Unfortunately, there is no way to
make setting these affect the Fortran implicit rules unless FC and FFLAGS
are not used (and these are used by BSD make).
Version 3.41
* Make now checks to see if its hashed directories are changed by recipes.
Other makes that hash directories (Sun, 4.3 BSD) don't do this.
Version 3.39
* The `shell' function no longer captures standard error output.
Version 3.32
* A file beginning with a dot can be the default target if it also contains
a slash (e.g., `../bin/foo'). (Unix make allows this as well.)
Version 3.31
* Archive member names are truncated to 15 characters.
* Yet more USG stuff.
* Minimal support for Microport System V (a 16-bit machine and a
brain-damaged compiler). This has even lower priority than other USG
support, so if it gets beyond trivial, I will take it out completely.
* Revamped default implicit rules (not much visible change).
* The -d and -p options can come from the environment.
Version 3.30
* Improved support for USG and HPUX (hopefully).
* A variable reference like `$(foo:a=b)', if `a' contains a `%', is
equivalent to `$(patsubst a,b,$(foo))'.
* Defining .DEFAULT with no deps or recipe clears its recipe.
* New default implicit rules for .S (cpp, then as), and .sh (copy and
make executable). All default implicit rules that use cpp (even
indirectly), use $(CPPFLAGS).
Version 3.29
* Giving the -j option with no arguments gives you infinite jobs.
Version 3.28
* New option: "-l LOAD" says not to start any new jobs while others are
running if the load average is not below LOAD (a floating-point number).
* There is support in place for implementations of remote command execution
in Make. See the file remote.c.
Version 3.26
* No more than 10 directories will be kept open at once.
(This number can be changed by redefining MAX_OPEN_DIRECTORIES in dir.c.)
Version 3.25
* Archive files will have their modification times recorded before doing
anything that might change their modification times by updating an archive
Version 3.20
* The `MAKELEVEL' variable is defined for use by makefiles.
Version 3.19
* The recursion level indications in error messages are much shorter than
they were in version 3.14.
Version 3.18
* Leading spaces before directives are ignored (as documented).
* Included makefiles can determine the default goal target.
(System V Make does it this way, so we are being compatible).
Version 3.14.
* Variables that are defaults built into Make will not be put in the
environment for children. This just saves some environment space and,
except under -e, will be transparent to sub-makes.
* Error messages from sub-makes will indicate the level of recursion.
* Hopefully some speed-up for large directories due to a change in the
directory hashing scheme.
* One child will always get a standard input that is usable.
* Default makefiles that don't exist will be remade and read in.
Version 3.13.
* Count parentheses inside expansion function calls so you can
have nested calls: `$(sort $(foreach x,a b,$(x)))'.
Version 3.12.
* Several bug fixes, including USG and Sun386i support.
* `shell' function to expand shell commands a la `
* If the `-d' flag is given, version information will be printed.
* The `-c' option has been renamed to `-C' for compatibility with tar.
* The `-p' option no longer inhibits other normal operation.
* Makefiles will be updated and re-read if necessary.
* Can now run several recipes at once (parallelism), -j option.
* Error messages will contain the level of Make recursion, if any.
* The `MAKEFLAGS' and `MFLAGS' variables will be scanned for options after
makefiles are read.
* A double-colon rule with no dependencies will always have its recipe run.
(This is how both the BSD and System V versions of Make do it.)
Version 3.05
(Changes from versions 1 through 3.05 were never recorded. Sorry.)
Copyright (C) 1988-2020 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
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GNU Make is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY
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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 <>.