3.8 Overriding Part of Another Makefile
Sometimes it is useful to have a makefile that is mostly just like
another makefile. You can often use the `include' directive to
include one in the other, and add more targets or variable definitions.
However, if the two makefiles give different commands for the same
make will not let you just do this. But there is another way.
In the containing makefile (the one that wants to include the other),
you can use a match-anything pattern rule to say that to remake any
target that cannot be made from the information in the containing
make should look in another makefile.
See section 10.5 Defining and Redefining Pattern Rules, for more information on pattern rules.
For example, if you have a makefile called `Makefile' that says how
to make the target `foo' (and other targets), you can write a
makefile called `GNUmakefile' that contains:
frobnicate > foo
@$(MAKE) -f Makefile $@
If you say `make foo',
make will find `GNUmakefile',
read it, and see that to make `foo', it needs to run the command
`frobnicate > foo'. If you say `make bar',
find no way to make `bar' in `GNUmakefile', so it will use the
commands from the pattern rule: `make -f Makefile bar'. If
`Makefile' provides a rule for updating `bar',
will apply the rule. And likewise for any other target that
`GNUmakefile' does not say how to make.
The way this works is that the pattern rule has a pattern of just
`%', so it matches any target whatever. The rule specifies a
prerequisite `force', to guarantee that the commands will be run even
if the target file already exists. We give `force' target empty
commands to prevent
make from searching for an implicit rule to
build it--otherwise it would apply the same match-anything rule to
`force' itself and create a prerequisite loop!