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15.1 Basics of distribution

The dist target in the generated `Makefile.in' can be used to generate a gzip'd tar file and other flavors of archive for distribution. The files is named based on the `PACKAGE' and `VERSION' variables defined by AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE (see section 5.6 Autoconf macros supplied with Automake); more precisely the gzip'd tar file is named `package-version.tar.gz'. You can use the make variable `GZIP_ENV' to control how gzip is run. The default setting is `--best'.

For the most part, the files to distribute are automatically found by Automake: all source files are automatically included in a distribution, as are all `Makefile.am's and `Makefile.in's. Automake also has a built-in list of commonly used files which are automatically included if they are found in the current directory (either physically, or as the target of a `Makefile.am' rule). This list is printed by `automake --help'. Also, files which are read by configure (i.e. the source files corresponding to the files specified in various Autoconf macros such as AC_CONFIG_FILES and siblings) are automatically distributed.

Still, sometimes there are files which must be distributed, but which are not covered in the automatic rules. These files should be listed in the EXTRA_DIST variable. You can mention files from subdirectories in EXTRA_DIST.

You can also mention a directory in EXTRA_DIST; in this case the entire directory will be recursively copied into the distribution. Please note that this will also copy everything in the directory, including CVS/RCS version control files. We recommend against using this feature.

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