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Re: aclocal.m4 location

From: Sam Steingold
Subject: Re: aclocal.m4 location
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2009 16:59:17 -0400

Hi Ralf,

On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 4:40 PM, Ralf Wildenhues<address@hidden> wrote:
> * Sam Steingold wrote on Tue, Aug 04, 2009 at 06:06:03PM CEST:
>> automake requires aclocal.m4 to be present in the current directory.
>> this is not the case for me, I have one master aclocal.m4 and a few
>> subprojects, each with its own and
>> this means that for automake to run, I have to create a temp symlynk for
>> aclocal.m4 and then the generated Makefile requires the symlink to be present
>> (otherwise it calls automake which fails because aclocal.m4 is not in the
>> current directory).
> Hmm, that's not so easy, because aclocal, trying to optimize, puts only
> those macros from the Automake package into the aclocal.m4 file which
> are used for the Automake support in the current package.  So if one of
> your subprojects needs another macro, it couldn't detect that, and your
> configure script could not be generated correctly.

I know.
the aclocal.m4 is generated based on the concatenation of all the

> OTOH, aclocal.m4 files are typically not large any more if the macro
> files they reference are in-tree (then they mostly contain a list of
> m4_include()s for those files), so having a few of them around doesn't
> hurt that much.

mine is almost 20k lines.

>> Would it be possible to add a command line option to automake to specify the
>> location of the aclocal.m4?
> Hmm, even having that (without the ability to share generated aclocal.m4
> files between packages) could open at least a small can of worms, as a
> few of the tools rely on the exact location of this file.  Haven't
> checked in detail yet, though.

I don't think it is wise for any tool to "rely on the exact location
of" any file.
moreover, in addition to the --aclocal command line argument, I would
like the environment variable $ACLOCAL_M4 to be respected.

Sam Steingold <>

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