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What is this directory `autom4te.cache'? Can I safely remove it?
In the GNU Build System, `configure.ac' plays a central
role and is read by many tools:
autoconf to create
autoheader to create `config.h.in',
automake to create `Makefile.in',
check the completeness of `configure.ac',
check the GNU Build System components that are used. To
"read `configure.ac'" actually means to compile it with M4,
which can be a very long process for complex `configure.ac'.
This is why all these tools, instead of running directly M4, invoke
autom4te (see section 8.2.1 Invoking
autom4te) which, while answering to
a specific demand, stores additional information in
`autom4te.cache' for future runs. For instance, if you run
autoconf, behind the scenes,
autom4te will also
store information for the other tools, so that when you invoke
automake etc., re-processing
`configure.ac' is not needed. The speed up is frequently of 30,
and is increasing with the size of `configure.ac'.
But it is and remains being simply a cache: you can safely remove it.
Can I permanently get rid of it?
The creation of this cache can be disabled from
`~/.autom4te.cfg', see 8.2.2 Customizing
autom4te, for more
details. You should be aware that disabling the cache slows down the
Autoconf test suite by 40%. The more GNU Build System
components are used, the more the cache is useful; for instance
running `autoreconf -f' on the Coreutils is twice slower without
the cache although `--force' implies that the cache is
not fully exploited, and eight times slower than without
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