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When Automake Isn't Enough

Automake's implicit copying semantics means that many problems can be worked around by simply adding some make targets and rules to `Makefile.in'. Automake will ignore these additions.

There are some caveats to doing this. Although you can overload a target already used by Automake, it is often inadvisable, particularly in the topmost directory of a package with subdirectories. However, various useful targets have a `-local' version you can specify in your `Makefile.in'. Automake will supplement the standard target with these user-supplied targets.

The targets that support a local version are all, info, dvi, check, install-data, install-exec, uninstall, and the various clean targets (mostlyclean, clean, distclean, and maintainer-clean). Note that there are no uninstall-exec-local or uninstall-data-local targets; just use uninstall-local. It doesn't make sense to uninstall just data or just executables.

For instance, here is one way to install a file in `/etc':

install-data-local:
        $(INSTALL_DATA) $(srcdir)/afile /etc/afile

Some targets also have a way to run another target, called a hook, after their work is done. The hook is named after the principal target, with `-hook' appended. The targets allowing hooks are install-data, install-exec, dist, and distcheck.

For instance, here is how to create a hard link to an installed program:

install-exec-hook:
        ln $(bindir)/program $(bindir)/proglink


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