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2.2.2 Standard ‘Makefile’ Targets

So far we have come across four ways to run make in the GNU Build System: make, make check, make install, and make installcheck. The words check, install, and installcheck, passed as arguments to make, are called targets. make is a shorthand for make all, all being the default target in the GNU Build System.

Here is a list of the most useful targets that the GNU Coding Standards specify.

make all

Build programs, libraries, documentation, etc. (same as make).

make install

Install what needs to be installed, copying the files from the package’s tree to system-wide directories.

make install-strip

Same as make install, then strip debugging symbols. Some users like to trade space for useful bug reports...

make uninstall

The opposite of make install: erase the installed files. (This needs to be run from the same build tree that was installed.)

make clean

Erase from the build tree the files built by make all.

make distclean

Additionally erase anything ./configure created.

make check

Run the test suite, if any.

make installcheck

Check the installed programs or libraries, if supported.

make dist

Recreate ‘package-version.tar.gz’ from all the source files.

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