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Re: Setting environment variable for make dist

From: Nick Bowler
Subject: Re: Setting environment variable for make dist
Date: Thu, 14 May 2015 09:24:57 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.23 (2014-03-12)


On 2015-05-10 12:57 +0000, Bas Vodde wrote:
> I'm trying to change my projects so that it sets the
> COPYFILE_DISABLE=1 environment variable to influence the make dist
> target.
> Background: The COPYFILE_DISABLE=1 avoids having a second top-level
> directory in your package when packaging on MacOSX.
> So far, my attempt was to set the variable in the file
> and use AC_SUBST on it, but that didn't seem to work.

Right.  AC_SUBST([COPYFILE_DISABLE]) ordinarily does two things:

  - config.status will substitute @COPYFILE_DISABLE@ in output files
  - it causes Automake to put a line like this:


    into the files it generates.

Unfortunately this alone is not sufficient, because make variables are
not generally exported into the environment (which is what you actually
want to happen).

But I think there is a solution: we can (ab)use the fact that 'make dist'
internally performs a recursive make invocation.  This gives us the chance
to add things to the make command line, using AM_MAKEFLAGS.  So putting


into should work I think (not tested), because variables
defined on the make command line *are* exported into the environment.
You will still need the AC_SUBST to define COPYFILE_DISABLE in the
first place.

Nick Bowler, Elliptic Technologies (

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