Review of The GNU Make Book (2015)


John Graham-Cummings (writer).

Read in 2019.

The finer points of GNU Make: Pitfalls and advanced features right up to novel C extensions.

Not for the novice. The first chapter discusses the relationships between five separate sources of variables; if you can’t guess what they are, as I could not have done ahead of time, you should probably start with an introduction from some other source.

The material is good, clearly grounded in deep experience of real-world problems and effectively explained from examples, but inadequately opinionated about the fact that Make is bloody horrible as a programming language. I would have preferred a more thorough demonstration of GNU Guile as the “official” solution to the poor scripting afforded by Make’s vicious variable evaluation.

non-fiction programming text