Most programming projects encompass a large number of
individual files. Keeping track of file interdependencies
often gets too complex to maintain on a piece of paper or by memory.
was designed to keep track
of file-to-file relationships, the order of command executions,
and general file maintenance. make is a command
generator. It generates command sequences to be executed
within a UNIX system shell.
Within a make description file,
more commonly known as a makefile or Makefile,
a user defines the file interdependencies and command sequences to be executed.
If a program must be linked from object files and libraries, which are
in turn created from assembly or high-level language source files,
then invoking make performs this task automatically.
By using make, a programmer no longer has to be concerned
with the following scenario: if file A depends on file B, and if
file B was modified after file A, then file A must be compiled and
linked before the program can run correctly.
A programmer can now let make remember:
which files were modified recently
which files require recompilation after source changes
the exact sequence of operations required to generate a new
version of the program
For a detailed explanation of the make command line usage, see
The chapter is organized as follows:
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