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Autotools: A Practioner's Guide to GNU Autoconf, Automake, and Libtool 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The final chapter (A catalog of tips and reusable solutions for creating great projects) is fantastic because it dishes up a collection of practical, real solutions to problems users of Autotools will encounter. Above all, the book shows that it was written by someone who truly understands the set of tools, and thankfully is able to write clearly.
He doesn't shy away from getting into difficult details (like the M4 macro language) and chapters 8 and 9 are an exposition of the use of Autotools for an actual, large project showing what a real-world use of the tools looks like. Those 50 pages are probably the most valuable in the entire book.
Highly recommended for anyone who needs to use Autotools.
The book is organized as 2 introductory chapters, then 5 chapters on autoconf/automaka/libtool. That's followed by 2 chapters covering an example of converting a non-trivial project to use Autotools. The last two chapters cover M4, the macro language Autotools is based on, and then a catalog of tips. This isn't a reference book, you won't find an exhaustive list of all the Autotools macros.
Even if you are not going to use autotools extensively, I found the introduction to "make" very clear. In fact, as good an introduction as anything I've read. Though I've read the O'Reilly books on "make" and "GNU make", I still learned a few things about "make". If, like me, you are just an occasional user of Autotools, then you'll find it useful if the "configure" script doesn't work out of the box. As an example, I tried to build CUnit just after reading this book. I followed the "readme.txt", but it didn't work. Running one extra command and adding some command line options sorted it out. If you're going to be using Autotools extensively, then you'll obviously want to read this book.
Calcote does go out of his way to recommend platform-independent practices, even going as far as to accommodate make tools other than GNU make. Example code is marked with numbered dots, which are then referred to in the text.Read more ›
Autoconf and Automake properly. For this objective it was perfect and worth every penny. The book develops a project logically, starting with a hand written makefile, turning this into a template for Autoconf then using Automake and Libtool. In later sections the author gives an account of how he took an existing open source project and converted it to use the Autotools. There is a chapter on m4 and another containing tips and advice from the author's hard won experience. Everything is well explained and the philosophy behind these tools is made clear. There are plenty of useful footnotes to the text and code listings are particularly well referenced in the text.
Since 2000 I've been writing makefiles and "makeries" for embedded products. I've been doing this with straight makefiles calling gcc and ld for Cisco and before that Scientific Atlanta. These have been pretty big projects so I feel confident when I say I understand makefiles and embedded make systems.
Some of our latest products we began using Buildroot to configure and use open source projects and that was a crash course in USING autotools to configure and build open source projects. These projects always targeted a non x86 instruction set and utilized the -with-sysroot option. The entire time we did this only once did I have to get inside a projects configure.ac files to update it to use the latest libtools to fully support cross compiling properly.
What I took away from those projects was that I needed to learn how to instrument some of our in house code projects to use an autotools based make system. If it's good enough for GLIBC it's got to be good enough for what we do.
I searched and scratched around for a good tutorial on how to do a basic autotools based make system and could never find one that had enough information to where I was not going to have to spend months attempting to figure out autotools and I gave up.
Then last month I came across a partial online version of this book and it was EXACTLY what I was looking for. Even before I got through the 3rd chapter I order the book from Amazon. This is one of those books that you will always keep around just to have as a reference.
This book is well thought out and you can tell that A LOT of time went into this book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I needed a book to get me going quickly on Autotools and this book delivered.Published 1 month ago by Anderson John
I build various Open Source Software such as PHP, varnish cache, nginx on Mac OSX, Windows and Linux. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Ömer ÖZTAT
Compared to all the C++ books out there, or all the Learn C in 21 Days-type introductions, there is very little written about the Autotools. Read morePublished 12 months ago by A. Jesse Davis
I haven't got enough time to read through the book.
The author, John Calcote, has many years of experiences in this area,
he knows very well the background for the... Read more
I'm a Software Developer that until recently wrote mostly Windows programs. My job now has me writing Linux programs (I have an awesome job!). Read morePublished 22 months ago by Jason Enochs
This book explains the autotools well in the context of the example "project", but provides little insight beyond the bounds of that project. Read morePublished on April 28, 2014 by Michael
This book covers "What am I trying to achieve?" and "How do I do it?" The first section walks through an example of custom-crafting a portable Makefile to lay down... Read morePublished on January 1, 2014 by Perette M. Barella