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  • GCC_EXEC_PREFIX . For defining the GCC executables prefix


  • Targets without prerequisites are called phony targets (clean target)
  • Is standard practice to have an OBJS(or objects) variable to list all the object files.
  • There is an implicit rule to make .o files out of .c files: example.o: example.h
  • If you have several target depending of the same (not .c) prerequisites you can do: kbd.o command.o files.o : command.h
  • A good clean rule. .PHONY tell explicitly that clean is a phony target (in case there is a file called “clean” in the directory). With -rm execution continues even with errors coming out of rm. Ex:
.PHONY : clean
clean :
           -rm edit $(objects)
  • Variables are used with $()
  • “-” in front of a shell commands ignores errors.
  • MAKEFILES is an environmental variable that tells make to include the makefiles listed there if they exist. Used in recursive invocations of make.
  • It seems that Double-colon rules (::) are always executed (updated)
  • make -n target will print the commands to update target without executing them. make -s silences echoing.
  • $? only files that have change from the list of prerequisites of a rule.
  • $^ list of all the prerequisites of a rule.
  • $@ target
  • $< is only the first prerequisite. Useful when you have also header files as prerequisites but you don't want to put them on the compilation commands.
  • A prerequisite can be of the form: -lname. It will look for a file called and then libname.a
  • Wildcards only get automatically expanded in rules for the rest use: $(wildcard pattern…)
  • Substitution: $(patsubst %.c,%.o,$(wildcard *.c))
  • VPATH contains the search directories. vpath Directive is a search path for files under a pattern
vpath %.h ../headers
  • CFLAGS variable is use during the c implicit rule compilation.
  • make -C dir specifies the working directory. Activates -w for printing “entering directory …”
  • See the phony section in the manual for multiple directory makefiles, and parallel processing
  • Trick to generate several programs in the same directory:
all : prog1 prog2 prog3
     .PHONY : all
... rules for programs
  • extradeps= takes the argument from make extradeps=foo
  • $(objects): %.o: %.c Static Pattern rules. One can specify to which target is applies, you can't with implicit rules. It overwrites implicit rules.
  • $(filter %.o,$(files)) filters all .o files out of $files
  • $* expands to what is in % (the stem)
  • When a target appears in more than one rule the rules must be of the same type (: or ::)
  • When a target appears in more that one :: rule, the rules executed are the ones where the target is older than the prerequisites.
  • cc -MM main.c gives main.o : main.c defs.h
  • For each source file name.c there is a makefile name.d which lists what files the object file name.o depends on.
  • Here is the pattern rule to generate a file of prerequisites (i.e., a makefile) called name.d from a C source file called name.c:
   %.d: %.c
           @set -e; rm -f $@; \
            $(CC) -MM $(CPPFLAGS) $< > $@.$$$$; \
            sed 's,\($*\)\.o[ :]*,\1.o $@ : ,g' < $@.$$$$ > $@; \
            rm -f $@.$$$$
  • $(sources:.c=.d) substitutes from sources all .c files to .d files
  • @ disables echoing in the shell commands area.
  • For command execution each line gets executed with a separated shell. Be careful with “cd”. Put it in the same line with the next command with “;”
  • Check “&&” shell operator, useful for stopping executing if the prior command gave an error.
  • make -j . Gives parallel processing.
  • make -i . Ignores all errors.
  • If a target fails the right thing to do is to erase the target file. Check here why. make will do this if .DELETE_ON_ERROR appears as a target.
  • Recursive make:
           cd subdir && $(MAKE)
  • Use $(MAKE) instead of make
  • You can export variables to the sub-make with “export variable”
  • Canned sequences of commands are like functions or macros but is really a variable. You can called from rule commands. syntax:
define name
  • For avoiding that a target gets an implicit rule use: target: ; An empty command target
  • = variables are called recursive variables. They do recursive expansion.
  • := simply expanded variables.
  • FOO ?= bar , this assignment only happens if FOO hasn't been assigned before.
  • Substitution references: Is an abbreviation of patsubst
foo := a.o b.o c.o
bar := $(foo:.o=.c)
  • Variables in the environment become make variables
  • To add more text to an existing variable use += . += over a non existing variable acts as = . If the variable existed before it acts according to the type of variable.
  • define directive is similar to “=”
  • target specific variable assignments. prog : CFLAGS = -g
  • pattern specific variable assignments. %.o : CFLAGS = -O
  • conditionals :
ifeq(variable, value)
  • conditionals: ifeq(arg1,arg2) ifneq(arg1,arg2) ifdef(varname) ifndef(varname)
  • function call. $(function arguments) . Find functions here
  • $(foreach var,list,text) is special
  • $(call variable,param,param,…) creates new parameterized functions
  • make -p in a directory without Makefile to see all the implicit rules.
  • n.o is made automatically from n.c with a command of the form `$(CC) -c $(CPPFLAGS) $(CFLAGS)'.
  • n.o is made automatically from n.s by running the assembler, as. The precise command is `$(AS) $(ASFLAGS)'.
  • n.s is made automatically from n.S by running the C preprocessor, cpp. The precise command is `$(CPP) $(CPPFLAGS)'.
  • n is made automatically from n.o by running the linker (usually called ld) via the C compiler. The precise command used is `$(CC) $(LDFLAGS) n.o $(LOADLIBES) $(LDLIBS)'.
  • Variables used by implicit rules here
  • pattern rules contain % in the target
  • List of automatic variables here
  • Canceling implicit rules. %.o : %.s
  • study the following commands. Seem to be useful: cat cmp cp diff echo egrep expr false grep install-info ln ls mkdir mv pwd rm rmdir sed sleep sort tar test touch true
  • Quick reference here

Microcontrollers and GCC

Programming and generating code for a system where Linux is already running usually involves just writing the source code for the program, some libraries and some Makefiles. One thing that is always happening, every time that some code is generated that can be useful to use in a system, is linking. During linking basically the code generated by the compiling process, called object code, from all the source files plus the code from library files gets “linked” in one single output object code in a specific format. This linking process is necessary because the operating system needs the information of how and where to look for code from other “shared libraries”, also how to put the code generated in memory and also how to execute this code. Something I didn't know is that this information on how linking should happen is specified in two ways. First with specific standards and object file types and, second with instructions given to the linker using a linker script file. The approach that I follow to deal with this was the following:

  1. Get an example of a project for a microcontroller that requires to set memory layouts by hand, I got an example for the stm32 Arm microcontrollers.
  2. Read the complete GCC users manual. This is important to know what is going on during the whole compilation process.
  3. Read the complete Makefile users manual. This is big but very important. Now I understand much more variations of Makefiles.
  4. Read the complete manual for ld the linker. This is where you will find the information for writing linker scripts.

You may wander why you don't have to do this in your linux i386 PC computer, this is because there is already a default ld script for your system and it gets used automatically. So you don't notice. But if you dare you can try to write your own ld script for your i386 and try to get your program running with it.

programming.txt · Last modified: 2011/11/08 15:59 by memeruiz