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3.3 The most useful Makefile targets

By now ‘configure’ has generated the output files such as a ‘Makefile’. Most projects include a ‘Makefile’ with a basic set of well-known targets (see section Targets and dependencies). A target is a name of a task that you want make to perform – usually it is to build all of the programs belonging to your package (commonly known as the all target). From your build directory, the following commands are likely to work for a configured package:

make all

Builds all derived files sufficient to declare the package built.

make check

Runs any self-tests that the package may have.

make install

Installs the package in a predetermined location.

make clean

Removes all derived files.

There are other less commonly used targets which are likely to be recognized, particularly if the package includes a ‘Makefile’ which conforms to the GNUMakefile’ standard or is generated by automake. You may wish to inspect the generated ‘Makefile’ to see what other targets have been included.

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