The goals are the targets that
make should strive ultimately
to update. Other targets are updated as well if they appear as
dependencies of goals, or dependencies of dependencies of goals, etc.
By default, the goal is the first target in the makefile (not counting targets that start with a period). Therefore, makefiles are usually written so that the first target is for compiling the entire program or programs they describe. If the first rule in the makefile has several targets, only the first target in the rule becomes the default goal, not the whole list.
You can specify a different goal or goals with arguments to
Use the name of the goal as an argument. If you specify several goals,
make processes each of them in turn, in the order you name them.
Any target in the makefile may be specified as a goal (unless it
starts with `-' or contains an `=', in which case it will be
parsed as a switch or variable definition, respectively). Even
targets not in the makefile may be specified, if
make can find
implicit rules that say how to make them.
One use of specifying a goal is if you want to compile only a part of the program, or only one of several programs. Specify as a goal each file that you wish to remake. For example, consider a directory containing several programs, with a makefile that starts like this:
.PHONY: all all: size nm ld ar as
If you are working on the program
size, you might want to say
`make size' so that only the files of that program are recompiled.
Another use of specifying a goal is to make files that are not normally made. For example, there may be a file of debugging output, or a version of the program that is compiled specially for testing, which has a rule in the makefile but is not a dependency of the default goal.
Another use of specifying a goal is to run the commands associated with a phony target (see section Phony Targets) or empty target (see section Empty Target Files to Record Events). Many makefiles contain a phony target named `clean' which deletes everything except source files. Naturally, this is done only if you request it explicitly with `make clean'. Following is a list of typical phony and empty target names. See section Standard Targets for Users, for a detailed list of all the standard target names which GNU software packages use.
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