Version 1 (modified by simonmar, 7 years ago) (diff)


Modifying the build system

This section covers making changes to the GHC build system. We'll give some general advice on how to work with the build system, and then describe a few common scenarios, such as how to add a new source file.

Note that before making any non-trivial changes to the build system you should acquaint yourself with the overall architecture. Even if you're already familiar with GNU make, the GHC build system is probably quite different from most Makefile-based build systems you've seen before.

Incedentally, it's a good idea to have a copy of the GNU make documentation to hand when working with the build system.


When the build system doesn't do what you want, the results can be pretty cryptic. Often the problem is that something is being built in the wrong order, or some variable isn't being propagated to the places you thought it was. How do you go about debugging the build system?

Debugging techniques can also be a handy way to understand how the build system works. Want to test your hypothesis about what the variable rts_C_SRCS contains? Just add a $(warning $(rts_C_SRCS)) somewhere.

Here are the techniques that we use. Note, for many of these diagnosis techniques you may want to invoke make on directly using make -f, to bypass the phase ordering machinery of the top-level Makefile.

make --debug=b --debug=m
causes make to show the sequence of dependencies that it is following, which will often tell you why something is being built. This can help to track down missing or incorrect dependencies.
make -p
prints out all the generated rules and variables. The output can be huge; so pipe it to a file, and search through it for the bits of interest.
$(warning ... message ...)
equivalent to "printf-debugging` in a C program: this causes make to print a message when it reads the $(warning ..) expression, and the message can include variable references. Very useful for finding out what make thinks the value of a variable is at a particular point in the Makefile, or for finding out the parameters for a particular macro call.
make show VALUE=VAR
prints the value of variable VAR. Useful for quick diagnosis.