(make.info.gz) MAKE Variable
5.7.1 How the `MAKE' Variable Works
Recursive `make' commands should always use the variable `MAKE', not
the explicit command name `make', as shown here:
cd subdir && $(MAKE)
The value of this variable is the file name with which `make' was
invoked. If this file name was `/bin/make', then the command executed
is `cd subdir && /bin/make'. If you use a special version of `make' to
run the top-level makefile, the same special version will be executed
for recursive invocations.
As a special feature, using the variable `MAKE' in the commands of a
rule alters the effects of the `-t' (`--touch'), `-n' (`--just-print'),
or `-q' (`--question') option. Using the `MAKE' variable has the same
effect as using a `+' character at the beginning of the command line.
Instead of Executing the Commands Instead of Execution. This
special feature is only enabled if the `MAKE' variable appears directly
in the command script: it does not apply if the `MAKE' variable is
referenced through expansion of another variable. In the latter case
you must use the `+' token to get these special effects.
Consider the command `make -t' in the above example. (The `-t'
option marks targets as up to date without actually running any
commands; see Instead of Execution.) Following the usual
definition of `-t', a `make -t' command in the example would create a
file named `subsystem' and do nothing else. What you really want it to
do is run `cd subdir && make -t'; but that would require executing the
command, and `-t' says not to execute commands.
The special feature makes this do what you want: whenever a command
line of a rule contains the variable `MAKE', the flags `-t', `-n' and
`-q' do not apply to that line. Command lines containing `MAKE' are
executed normally despite the presence of a flag that causes most
commands not to be run. The usual `MAKEFLAGS' mechanism passes the
flags to the sub-`make' ( Communicating Options to a Sub-`make'
Options/Recursion.), so your request to touch the files, or print the
commands, is propagated to the subsystem.
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