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Autotools--New from No Starch Press

August 10, 2010

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San Francisco, CA, August 10, 2010—The GNU build system (the "Autotools") makes it easy for developers to create software that's portable across many Unix-like operating systems. While the Autotools are used by thousands of open source software packages, they have a notoriously steep learning curve. And beginners who want to find anything beyond a basic reference work on the topic are essentially out of luck.

Until now. In Autotools (No Starch Press, August 2010, 360 pp., $44.95, ISBN 9781593272067) author John Calcote provides programmers with an up-to-date, user-friendly, tutorial-based guide to the Autotools. Calcote, a software engineer for 20 years, begins the book with an overview of high-level concepts and a hands-on tour of the philosophy and design of the Autotools. Readers then delve into more advanced details, such as using the M4 macro processor with Autoconf, extending the framework provided by Automake, and building Java and C# sources.

Autotools focuses on two projects: Jupiter, a simple "Hello, world!" program, and FLAIM, a complex open source effort containing four separate but interdependent subprojects. Calcote takes readers through the required steps to transform Jupiter's build system from a basic makefile to a full-fledged Autotools project, then shows them how to convert FLAIM projects from complex hand-coded makefiles to a powerful and flexible GNU build system.

According to Calcote, "Getting started with the Autotools was more painful for me than I'd care to recall." His motivation for writing this book stems from the fact that "The documentation assumes a fair amount of prior knowledge about various Unix utilities, shell scripting, and makefile syntax. The insights presented in Autotools are guaranteed to get new users past the rough spots and provide more seasoned users with a deeper understanding of the Autotools."

In Autotools, readers learn how to:

  • Master the Autotools build system to maximize their software's portability
  • Generate Autoconf configuration scripts to simplify the compilation process
  • Produce portable makefiles with Automake
  • Build cross-platform software libraries with Libtool
  • Write their own Autoconf macros

Calcote concludes the book with a selection of detailed solutions to the problems most frequently encountered when working with the Autotools. For developers and programmers eager to utilize the GNU build system, Autotools is a one-of-a-kind resource that's sure to make sense of the system's many complexities.

For more information or to request a review copy of Autotools, contact Travis Peterson at No Starch Press (nostarchpr@oreilly.com, +1.415.863.9900, x300), or visit www.nostarch.com.

About the Author
John Calcote is a Senior Software Engineer and Architect at Novell, Inc. He's been writing and developing portable networking and system-level software for 20 years and is active in developing, debugging, and analyzing diverse open source software packages. He is currently a project administrator of the OpenSLP, OpenXDAS, DNX, and FLAIM projects (open source software available at http://www.sourceforge.net/).

Additional Resources
Chapter 3, "Configuring Your Project with Autoconf" (PDF)
Table of contents overview
Detailed table of contents (PDF)
Index (PDF)

Ubuntu for Non-Geeks, 4th Edition Autotools
by John Calcote
August 2010, 360 pp.
ISBN 9781593272067, $44.95 USD
Request review copy

Available in fine bookstores everywhere, from www.oreilly.com/nostarch, or directly from No Starch Press (http://www.nostarch.com/, orders@nostarch.com, 1-800-420-7240).

About No Starch Press
Founded in 1994, No Starch Press is one of the few remaining independent computer book publishers. We publish the finest in geek entertainment—unique books on technology, with a focus on open source, security, hacking, programming, alternative operating systems, LEGO, science, and math. Our titles have personality, our authors are passionate, and our books tackle topics that people care about. Visit http://www.nostarch.com for a complete catalog.

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