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Sebastian Ross
Sebastian Ross

Make Clean



there are C files in a directory and I have a makefile.I usually use makefile to compile.I have been wandering the role of the 'make clean''make clean' is just to remove files.Though I didn't use 'make clean', the error and warning was shown up when there were something wrong.I cannot realize why I need to use 'make clean' whenever I change the source file.




make clean



It's convention only. The convention is that clean will return you to a state where all you have is the "source" files. In other words, it gets rid of everything that can be built from something else (objects, executables, listings and so on).


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Make clean is a generic way of cleaning up a code. The command removes all compiled object files from the source code. This command is used alongside other commands, making it a bit tricky to use.


The make clean command allows you to get rid of objects and executable files. The compiler, at times, will compile or link files incorrectly, which may cause issues. The only way to have a new start is by removing all the objects and the executable files.


If you do not run make clean, you keep your old object files. These files get outdated with time, creating severe compatibility issues. For instance, you can have an existing object file that you want to link to version 1.0 of a library.


While it is possible to create a makefile that tracks all dependencies, including modification time, bugs can crawl into the file. Thus, cleaning everything and rebuilding correctly when you feel something is wrong is the best way out.


Use make clean when the source file or any header files named in the dependencies are more recent than the object file. Additionally, you can run make clean when the object file does not exist. The command will eliminate all object files created in the meantime.


You can partially recompile, i.e., only recompiling the files you have changed and then linking newly created object files with the pre-existing ones. But if you want to be 100 percent safe, run the make run command before running make again.


It is a file that contains shell commands that you create, and it defines a set of tasks to be executed. It is hosted in the same directory as the source code, and you can name it either Makefile or makefile, depending on the system. You can create more than one makefile in a directory.


This is a handy utility you need when you want to update or run a task when specific files are updated. Make begins the execution of a make file and tracks the last time filers were updated and only updated those required to keep the source files up to date. If you have an extensive program with multiple source files and header files, changing a file on which other files depend requires that you recompile all the dependent files. This can be time-consuming without a makefile.


As stated earlier, clean is mainly used as a target to remove the output of other targets. Nevertheless, it is not a special word in make. Make clean will delete object files and the executable file. To use it, type:


lways reference your variables using either $ or $(). Variables simplify a makefile and eliminate the risk of forgetting some files. You can define a test string once and substitute it in many places later with a variable. As a standard, each makefile must have a variable, which is a list of all object file names.


When you add .PHONY to a target, it prevents make from confusing the phony target with the file name. If you create the file clean in the example below, you can still successfully run make clean.


Besides compiling programs, makefile tells you how to perform other tasks. For instance, it tells you how to delete all object files alongside executables, resulting in a clean directory.


Do not place this rule at the start of make file. If you place this rule at the start of a makefile, it will run as a default, which you may not want. In the example above, you want the rule for edit to remain the default goal. This rule typically recompiles the editor.


Remember, the make clean all rule is an optional rule that lets you make clean at the command line to remove objects and executable files. This applies to the make clean ubuntu command too.


(This applies to Qt versions >= 4.7.3.) I made an attempt to build Qt with custom parameters on my Debian box and it actually took AGES to compile (IIRC more than 6 hours on a single-core CPU). That's why I wanted to make sure I won't make any stupid mistakes in the process. However, I chose to do a make clean to get the *.o files and other stuff cleaned up after successful linking. It seemed a bad idea! For I did a make install just after that, and you won't believe it, the make clean attempt caused everything to get recompiled after the cleanup process! Though up to now, I've been thinking that make clean does allow a neat installation even with all object files and related stuff removed. Obviously, with Qt, things are different.


In the official documentation for Qt 4.7 (cf. -project.org/doc/qt-4.7/install-x11.html), they did not even mention an optional make clean in the sequence of commands. As I know now, for a good reason.All the same, I can't call this "complying with standards" as I've already compiled hundreds of open-source apps, and NEVER did make clean trigger any recompilation process nor remove anything that should be kept (unless there was a bug in there)


make clean is something you do before recompiling, to make sure you get a clean build and don't have left-over by-products from previous runs. You can do it after a make install if you want to free some space but keep the source and configuration around. You should not do it before installing.


A rule such as this should not be placed at the beginning of themakefile, because we do not want it to run by default! Thus, in theexample makefile, we want the rule for edit, which recompilesthe editor, to remain the default goal.


The typical standard is make clean will remove all intermediate files, and make distclean makes the tree just the way it was when it was un-tarred (or something pretty close) including removing any configure script output. This is the way the Linux kernel works for instance.


In other words, it's totally dependent on the developers for each of those libraries, and this is why sometimes its clean and other times it's distclean. By the way, you don't need to run clean/distclean - I guess they have you run it just to save disk space. make install usually copies the files to the destination directory (again dependent on the developers) - typically places like /usr/lib or /usr/bin (also determined by the configure script, if it's an Autotools build system)


make distclean/make clean is included after each make install simply as a precautionary measure to provide a "clean slate" for users who go back, change configure options, and re-compile (which occurred more often than expected).


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