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13.4.5 ‘’ at top level’ or ‘’ - this is the source from which autoconf generates the ‘configure’ script.

  1. Declare the package and version.

    This is done by a set of lines like these:


    or, if you are using GNU automake, by a line like this:

    AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE(gettext, 0.19)

    Of course, you replace ‘gettext’ with the name of your package, and ‘0.19’ by its version numbers, exactly as they should appear in the packaged tar file name of your distribution (‘gettext-0.19.tar.gz’, here).

  2. Check for internationalization support.

    Here is the main m4 macro for triggering internationalization support. Just add this line to ‘’:


    This call is purposely simple, even if it generates a lot of configure time checking and actions.

    If you have suppressed the ‘intl/’ subdirectory by calling gettextize without ‘--intl’ option, this call should read

  3. Have output files created.

    The AC_OUTPUT directive, at the end of your ‘’ file, needs to be modified in two ways:

    AC_OUTPUT([existing configuration files intl/Makefile po/],
    [existing additional actions])

    The modification to the first argument to AC_OUTPUT asks for substitution in the ‘intl/’ and ‘po/’ directories. Note the ‘.in’ suffix used for ‘po/’ only. This is because the distributed file is really ‘po/’.

    If you have suppressed the ‘intl/’ subdirectory by calling gettextize without ‘--intl’ option, then you don’t need to add intl/Makefile to the AC_OUTPUT line.

If, after doing the recommended modifications, a command like ‘aclocal -I m4’ or ‘autoconf’ or ‘autoreconf’ fails with a trace similar to this: warning: AC_COMPILE_IFELSE was called before AC_GNU_SOURCE
../../lib/autoconf/specific.m4:335: AC_GNU_SOURCE is expanded from...
m4/lock.m4:224: gl_LOCK is expanded from...
m4/gettext.m4:571: gt_INTL_SUBDIR_CORE is expanded from...
m4/gettext.m4:472: AM_INTL_SUBDIR is expanded from...
m4/gettext.m4:347: AM_GNU_GETTEXT is expanded from... the top level warning: AC_RUN_IFELSE was called before AC_GNU_SOURCE

you need to add an explicit invocation of ‘AC_GNU_SOURCE’ in the ‘’ file - after ‘AC_PROG_CC’ but before ‘AM_GNU_GETTEXT’, most likely very close to the ‘AC_PROG_CC’ invocation. This is necessary because of ordering restrictions imposed by GNU autoconf.

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