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Automake extension mechanism?

From: David Ventimiglia
Subject: Automake extension mechanism?
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:55:03 -0700


Does Automake provide any kind of extension mechanism so that one can
produce, and possibly share, useful Makefile fragments?

The reason I ask is this.

Autoconf seems to gain this ability in part courtesy of Automake's aclocal.
 If I wrote a useful m4 macro library for Autoconf, in principle I could
arrange (perhaps using Autotools itself, or a package manager) to have its
m4 files installed into, say, /usr/share/aclocal.  Then, anyone with my
library "installed" could use its macros simply by referencing them in
their project's file, in which case aclocal would put them
into the aclocal.m4 file for *that* person's project, and that would be
distributed.  The fragments in the library files would end up in and eventually their users' configure scripts.  Easy.

But with Automake, the is built from three and seemingly
*only* three
places:,, automake itself.  And as for automake,
that really seems to comprise a bunch of Perl code and a bunch of .am files
shipped with Automake, with Makefile fragments.  There doesn't seem to be
any way for the user to hook into this process.  Without it there's no way
to distribute useful Automake fragments other than to have people manually
place them into their project directories and reference them with an
Automake `include' directive.  That seems cumbersome and error-prone
compared to what's available for Autoconf.

Does it make sense what I'm asking?

David Ventimiglia,
San Francisco, CA

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