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autoconf is a collection of tools to generate portable configure scripts. It is part of the GNU build system (automake,libtool,etc.). It uses the m4 macro processor to process template files ( into configure scripts.

The autconf package comes with the following tools:

  • autoconf -- command to generate a configure script from a template file
  • autoscan -- generate a preliminary configure template file
  • autoreconf - update a generated configure script
  • autoheader -- generate a configuration header file (config.h)
  • autoupdate -- update the template file to a new autoconf version

The input templates, usually named or, specify which tests are performed in the resulting configure script. These tests are implemented as m4 macros and autoconf comes with a whole bunch of standard scripts and specialized tests/macros can easily be added. There are already a lot of extra macros around, a big list of the can be found here.

Autoconf also includes a tool to get you started writing your file named autoscan. Like the name suggested, it scans the source files of your project and generates a preliminary template file called configure.scan. This file can then manually be checked/extended and renamed to

See also

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