Bluffer's Guide to autoconf and automake

Location: Ballroom A7
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 4 ratings)

This talk is not for people with heart conditions.

As users of FLOSS software we have, on occasion, the need to understand the configuration systems of the software we use. More often than not, when we’re compiling software, the first command we run is “./configure” and, more often than not, that program is generated by autoconf. This presentation will arm you with just enough knowledge to be dangerous. You will learn how to write configure template files and, yes, you will learn about m4. m4 is the macro processor language used by autoconf.

At the end of this talk you will have a basic understanding of the structure and syntax of configure template files. You will be able to define and use configure switches such as `—enable-foo’ and `—with-foo’. Finally, you will be able to generate Makefiles which have information about how the configure process was run. Knowing this you will have enough foundation that, with a little effort, you can dig into the configuration processes of open source projects which use autoconf.

Photo of Casey West

Casey West


Casey West lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and three awesome kids. When he’s working for CombineNet people call him a Lead Product Engineer, Infrastructure and Architecture which means he writes code and tries to make the world a better place for his team.

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Picture of Timothy Ace
Timothy Ace
07/22/2009 12:23pm PDT

This was a great primer on where to start with your autoconf/automake project.

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