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3.2 What Name to Give Your Makefile

By default, when make looks for the makefile, it tries the following names, in order: ‘GNUmakefile’, ‘makefile’ and ‘Makefile’.

Normally you should call your makefile either ‘makefile’ or ‘Makefile’. (We recommend ‘Makefile’ because it appears prominently near the beginning of a directory listing, right near other important files such as ‘README’.) The first name checked, ‘GNUmakefile’, is not recommended for most makefiles. You should use this name if you have a makefile that is specific to GNU make, and will not be understood by other versions of make. Other make programs look for ‘makefile’ and ‘Makefile’, but not ‘GNUmakefile’.

If make finds none of these names, it does not use any makefile. Then you must specify a goal with a command argument, and make will attempt to figure out how to remake it using only its built-in implicit rules. See section Using Implicit Rules.

If you want to use a nonstandard name for your makefile, you can specify the makefile name with the ‘-f’ or ‘--file’ option. The arguments ‘-f name’ or ‘--file=name’ tell make to read the file name as the makefile. If you use more than one ‘-f’ or ‘--file’ option, you can specify several makefiles. All the makefiles are effectively concatenated in the order specified. The default makefile names ‘GNUmakefile’, ‘makefile’ and ‘Makefile’ are not checked automatically if you specify ‘-f’ or ‘--file’.

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