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Re: Compiling multiple sources in one command implicitly

From: Paul Smith
Subject: Re: Compiling multiple sources in one command implicitly
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2008 15:21:11 -0500

On Wed, 2008-02-20 at 11:55 -0800, EricDeb wrote:
> Is there a feature in GNU Make that will let me compile several source
> files with a single command implicitly? I understand I could write
> rules like this:
> a.o b.o c.o d.o : a.c b.c c.c d.c
>      $(CC) -c $(CPPFLAGS) $?

You definitely DON'T want to do this.  This does completely the wrong
thing, and will fail badly if you ever try to run parallel builds (at

> But, this causes a few problems. First, if any of the .o's are missing
> we'll compile all four sources. Second it will be tedious to create
> the makefiles like this, especially since this project has many many
> files in it.

Unfortunately GNU make doesn't have any ability to define multiple
targets being built from a single invocation of a rule when creating
explicit rules like this.

Even if it did, what you want is slightly different because that
behavior would assume that ALL the targets would be built from a single

The only way you can do this is with a sentinel file, like this:

        .sentinel: a.c b.c c.c d.c
                $(CC) -c $(CFLAGS) $(CPPFLAGS) $?
                @touch $@
        a.o b.o c.o d.o: .sentinel

Unfortunately there are still holes in this: for example if someone
deletes a .o file then this won't rebuild anything; you'd have to
explicitly delete the .sentinel file by hand.

There may be ways to work around this as well, but it would require some
fancier footwork.

 Paul D. Smith <address@hidden>       
 "Please remain calm--I may be mad, but I am a professional."--Mad Scientist

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