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From: Nick Bowler
Subject: Re: DIST_COMMON
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2021 14:39:47 -0500

On 2021-02-17, Leo Butler <> wrote:
> I cannot find DIST_COMMON documented in the automake manual[*]. Is this
> intended or an oversight?

Most likely intentional, this looks pretty internal to the "make dist"
machinery and not meant to be used directly by package authors.

> Looking at the automake perl script doesn't really enlighten me,
> either.
> I would like to know:
> -what does DIST_COMMON contain by default?

Looks to me like it is set to the list of files that Automake will
package by "make dist" that aren't otherwise explicitly listed in

So, loosely speaking, it should contain all[1] the files that Autoconf
used to produce "configure" plus all the files that Automake used to
produce "", plus the outputs of those processes, plus a
few other files that get automatically distributed such as the various
GNU-standard files like ChangeLog.  Probably some other things too.

[1] the ones Automake knows about, anyway.

> -is it possible to set it or otherwise over-ride it in

Techncally the answer to this question is "yes".

Automake allows pretty much anything that it generates to be overridden
by, including DIST_COMMON: just include an assignment to
DIST_COMMON in, setting it to whatever you desire, and it
will suppress the assignment generated by Automake.

However, while this is possible, overriding Automake-internal definitions
is not generally recommended.  If you need to tweak this, consider using
a dist-hook rule instead.


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