make commands should always use the variable
not the explicit command name `make', as shown here:
subsystem: cd subdir; $(MAKE)
The value of this variable is the file name with which
invoked. If this file name was `/bin/make', then the command executed
is `cd subdir; /bin/make'. If you use a special version of
make to run the top-level makefile, the same special version will be
executed for recursive invocations.
As a special feature, using the variable
MAKE in the commands of
a rule alters the effects of the `-t' (`--touch'), `-n'
(`--just-print'), or `-q' (`--question') option.
MAKE variable has the same effect as using a `+'
character at the beginning of the command line. See section Instead of Executing the Commands.
Consider the command `make -t' in the above example. (The `-t' option marks targets as up to date without actually running any commands; see section Instead of Executing the Commands.) Following the usual definition of `-t', a `make -t' command in the example would create a file named `subsystem' and do nothing else. What you really want it to do is run `cd subdir; make -t'; but that would require executing the command, and `-t' says not to execute commands.
The special feature makes this do what you want: whenever a command
line of a rule contains the variable
MAKE, the flags `-t',
`-n' and `-q' do not apply to that line. Command lines
MAKE are executed normally despite the presence of a
flag that causes most commands not to be run. The usual
MAKEFLAGS mechanism passes the flags to the sub-
(see section Communicating Options to a Sub-
make), so your request to touch the files, or print the
commands, is propagated to the subsystem.
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