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5.3 Auto-generating aclocal.m4

Automake includes a number of Autoconf macros which can be used in your package; some of them are actually required by Automake in certain situations. These macros must be defined in your `aclocal.m4'; otherwise they will not be seen by autoconf.

The aclocal program will automatically generate `aclocal.m4' files based on the contents of `configure.in'. This provides a convenient way to get Automake-provided macros, without having to search around. Also, the aclocal mechanism allows other packages to supply their own macros.

At startup, aclocal scans all the `.m4' files it can find, looking for macro definitions (see section 5.5 Macro search path). Then it scans `configure.in'. Any mention of one of the macros found in the first step causes that macro, and any macros it in turn requires, to be put into `aclocal.m4'.

The contents of `acinclude.m4', if it exists, are also automatically included in `aclocal.m4'. This is useful for incorporating local macros into `configure'.

aclocal tries to be smart about looking for new AC_DEFUNs in the files it scans. It also tries to copy the full text of the scanned file into `aclocal.m4', including both `#' and `dnl' comments. If you want to make a comment which will be completely ignored by aclocal, use `##' as the comment leader.

5.4 aclocal options  Options supported by aclocal
5.5 Macro search path  How aclocal finds .m4 files


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