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4.7.3 Build Directories

You can support compiling a software package for several architectures simultaneously from the same copy of the source code. The object files for each architecture are kept in their own directory.

To support doing this, make uses the VPATH variable to find the files that are in the source directory. GNU Make and most other recent make programs can do this. Older make programs do not support VPATH; when using them, the source code must be in the same directory as the object files.

To support VPATH, each `Makefile.in' should contain two lines that look like:

 
srcdir = @srcdir@
VPATH = @srcdir@

Do not set VPATH to the value of another variable, for example `VPATH = $(srcdir)', because some versions of make do not do variable substitutions on the value of VPATH.

configure substitutes the correct value for srcdir when it produces `Makefile'.

Do not use the make variable $<, which expands to the file name of the file in the source directory (found with VPATH), except in implicit rules. (An implicit rule is one such as `.c.o', which tells how to create a `.o' file from a `.c' file.) Some versions of make do not set $< in explicit rules; they expand it to an empty value.

Instead, `Makefile' command lines should always refer to source files by prefixing them with `$(srcdir)/'. For example:

 
time.info: time.texinfo
        $(MAKEINFO) $(srcdir)/time.texinfo


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