Now here is an example of a naive way of using wildcard expansion, that does not do what you would intend. Suppose you would like to say that the executable file `foo' is made from all the object files in the directory, and you write this:
objects = *.o foo : $(objects) cc -o foo $(CFLAGS) $(objects)
The value of
objects is the actual string `*.o'. Wildcard
expansion happens in the rule for `foo', so that each existing
`.o' file becomes a dependency of `foo' and will be recompiled if
But what if you delete all the `.o' files? When a wildcard matches
no files, it is left as it is, so then `foo' will depend on the
oddly-named file `*.o'. Since no such file is likely to exist,
make will give you an error saying it cannot figure out how to
make `*.o'. This is not what you want!
Actually it is possible to obtain the desired result with wildcard
expansion, but you need more sophisticated techniques, including the
wildcard function and string substitution.
These are described in the following section.
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