Introduction to the Autotools (autoconf, automake, and libtool)

“This page has information on the “autotools”, a set of tools for software developers that include at least autoconf, automake, and libtool. The autotools make it easier to distribute source code that (1) portably and automatically builds, (2) follows common build conventions (such as DESTDIR), and (3) provides automated dependency generation if you’re using C or C++. They’re primarily intended for Unix-like systems, but they can be used to build programs for Microsoft Windows (this requires some additional facilities, e.g., MSYS, Cygwin, or cross-compilation libraries). The autotools are not the only way to create source code releases that are easily built and packaged. But they’re one of the most widely-used, especially for programs that use C or C++ (though they’re not limited to that)…”