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13.3 The distcheck rule

The make dist documentation sounds nice, and make dist did do something, but how do you know it really works? It is a terrible feeling when you realize your carefully crafted distribution is missing a file and won't compile on a user's machine.

I wouldn't write such an introduction unless Automake provided a solution. The solution is a smoke test known as make distcheck. This rule performs a make dist as usual, but it doesn't stop there. Instead, it then proceeds to untar the new archive into a fresh directory, build it in a fresh build directory separate from the source directory, install it into a third fresh directory, and finally run make check in the build tree. If any step fails, distcheck aborts, leaving you to fix the problem before it will create a distribution.

While not a complete test -- it only tries one architecture, after all -- distcheck nevertheless catches most packaging errors (as opposed to portability bugs), and its use is highly recommended.

This document was generated by Gary V. Vaughan on November, 13 2000 using texi2html