Go to the next section.

Copyright @copyright{} 1996 Mark Galassi

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this manual provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of this manual under the conditions for verbatim copying, provided that the entire resulting derived work is distributed under the terms of a permission notice identical to this one.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute translations of this manual into another language, under the above conditions for modified versions, except that this permission notice may be stated in a translation approved by Free Software Foundation.

Some background on autoconf

Autoconf is a set of tools (the programs are actually called autoconf, autoheader, autoscan, autoreconf, autoupdate, ifnames) which helps make your code configurable and portable to various versions of UNIX.

You probably have had the experience of installing a typical GNU utility, such as GNU Emacs. You might remember that, even though emacs is a gigantic and complex program, the installation procedure consisted symply of typing something like:

gzcat emacs-19.30.tar.gz | tar xvf -
cd emacs-19.30
./configure --prefix=/packages              # or whatever prefix you use
gmake install

and that was all the active work you had to do.

The autoconf tools help you prepare your software in this manner.

The autoconf documentation is quite complete and detailed, but it does not contain any simple concrete examples to get a beginner off the ground. I recently taught myself how to use autoconf on new programs and how to convert existing programs.

I taught myself by converting Gnudl and Dominion to use autoconf. Then I converted xyplot to autoconf and in doing that took notes. The notes, with a few embelishments, are what you find here. This document should allow you to take your old programs and add configure scripts to them, so that they will have that robustness and configurability.

Some other background details:

Go to the next section.