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Appendix B Errors Generated by Make
Here is a list of the more common errors you might see generated by
`make', and some information about what they mean and how to fix them.
Sometimes `make' errors are not fatal, especially in the presence of
a `-' prefix on a command script line, or the `-k' command line option.
Errors that are fatal are prefixed with the string `***'.
Error messages are all either prefixed with the name of the program
(usually `make'), or, if the error is found in a makefile, the name of
the file and linenumber containing the problem.
In the table below, these common prefixes are left off.
`[FOO] Error NN'
`[FOO] SIGNAL DESCRIPTION'
These errors are not really `make' errors at all. They mean that a
program that `make' invoked as part of a command script returned a
non-0 error code (`Error NN'), which `make' interprets as failure,
or it exited in some other abnormal fashion (with a signal of some
type). Errors in Commands Errors.
If no `***' is attached to the message, then the subprocess failed
but the rule in the makefile was prefixed with the `-' special
character, so `make' ignored the error.
`missing separator. Stop.'
`missing separator (did you mean TAB instead of 8 spaces?). Stop.'
This means that `make' could not understand much of anything about
the command line it just read. GNU `make' looks for various kinds
of separators (`:', `=', TAB characters, etc.) to help it decide
what kind of commandline it's seeing. This means it couldn't find
a valid one.
One of the most common reasons for this message is that you (or
perhaps your oh-so-helpful editor, as is the case with many
MS-Windows editors) have attempted to indent your command scripts
with spaces instead of a TAB character. In this case, `make' will
use the second form of the error above. Remember that every line
in the command script must begin with a TAB character. Eight
spaces do not count. Rule Syntax.
`commands commence before first target. Stop.'
`missing rule before commands. Stop.'
This means the first thing in the makefile seems to be part of a
command script: it begins with a TAB character and doesn't appear
to be a legal `make' command (such as a variable assignment).
Command scripts must always be associated with a target.
The second form is generated if the line has a semicolon as the
first non-whitespace character; `make' interprets this to mean you
left out the "target: prerequisite" section of a rule. Rule
`No rule to make target `XXX'.'
`No rule to make target `XXX', needed by `YYY'.'
This means that `make' decided it needed to build a target, but
then couldn't find any instructions in the makefile on how to do
that, either explicit or implicit (including in the default rules
If you want that file to be built, you will need to add a rule to
your makefile describing how that target can be built. Other
possible sources of this problem are typos in the makefile (if
that filename is wrong) or a corrupted source tree (if that file
is not supposed to be built, but rather only a prerequisite).
`No targets specified and no makefile found. Stop.'
`No targets. Stop.'
The former means that you didn't provide any targets to be built
on the command line, and `make' couldn't find any makefiles to
read in. The latter means that some makefile was found, but it
didn't contain any default goal and none was given on the command
line. GNU `make' has nothing to do in these situations.
Arguments to Specify the Makefile Makefile Arguments.
`Makefile `XXX' was not found.'
`Included makefile `XXX' was not found.'
A makefile specified on the command line (first form) or included
(second form) was not found.
`warning: overriding commands for target `XXX''
`warning: ignoring old commands for target `XXX''
GNU `make' allows commands to be specified only once per target
(except for double-colon rules). If you give commands for a target
which already has been defined to have commands, this warning is
issued and the second set of commands will overwrite the first set.
Multiple Rules for One Target Multiple Rules.
`Circular XXX <- YYY dependency dropped.'
This means that `make' detected a loop in the dependency graph:
after tracing the prerequisite YYY of target XXX, and its
prerequisites, etc., one of them depended on XXX again.
`Recursive variable `XXX' references itself (eventually). Stop.'
This means you've defined a normal (recursive) `make' variable XXX
that, when it's expanded, will refer to itself (XXX). This is not
allowed; either use simply-expanded variables (`:=') or use the
append operator (`+='). How to Use Variables Using
`Unterminated variable reference. Stop.'
This means you forgot to provide the proper closing parenthesis or
brace in your variable or function reference.
`insufficient arguments to function `XXX'. Stop.'
This means you haven't provided the requisite number of arguments
for this function. See the documentation of the function for a
description of its arguments. Functions for Transforming
`missing target pattern. Stop.'
`multiple target patterns. Stop.'
`target pattern contains no `%'. Stop.'
`mixed implicit and static pattern rules. Stop.'
These are generated for malformed static pattern rules. The first
means there's no pattern in the target section of the rule; the
second means there are multiple patterns in the target section;
the third means the target doesn't contain a pattern character
(`%'); and the fourth means that all three parts of the static
pattern rule contain pattern characters (`%')-only the first two
parts should. Syntax of Static Pattern Rules Static Usage.
`warning: -jN forced in submake: disabling jobserver mode.'
This warning and the next are generated if `make' detects error
conditions related to parallel processing on systems where
sub-`make's can communicate ( Communicating Options to a
Sub-`make' Options/Recursion.). This warning is generated if a
recursive invocation of a `make' process is forced to have `-jN'
in its argument list (where N is greater than one). This could
happen, for example, if you set the `MAKE' environment variable to
`make -j2'. In this case, the sub-`make' doesn't communicate with
other `make' processes and will simply pretend it has two jobs of
`warning: jobserver unavailable: using -j1. Add `+' to parent make rule.'
In order for `make' processes to communicate, the parent will pass
information to the child. Since this could result in problems if
the child process isn't actually a `make', the parent will only do
this if it thinks the child is a `make'. The parent uses the
normal algorithms to determine this ( How the `MAKE' Variable
Works MAKE Variable.). If the makefile is constructed such that
the parent doesn't know the child is a `make' process, then the
child will receive only part of the information necessary. In
this case, the child will generate this warning message and
proceed with its build in a sequential manner.
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