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MAKEFILE_LIST Variable

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The Variable MAKEFILE_LIST

As make reads various makefiles, including any obtained from the MAKEFILES variable, the command line, the default files, or from include directives, their names will be automatically appended to the MAKEFILE_LIST variable. They are added right before make begins to parse them.

This means that if the first thing a makefile does is examine the last word in this variable, it will be the name of the current makefile. Once the current makefile has used include, however, the last word will be the just-included makefile.

If a makefile named Makefile has this content:

name1 := $(word $(words $(MAKEFILE_LIST)),$(MAKEFILE_LIST))

include inc.mk

name2 := $(word $(words $(MAKEFILE_LIST)),$(MAKEFILE_LIST))

all:
        @echo name1 = $(name1)
        @echo name2 = $(name2)

then you would expect to see this output:

name1 = Makefile
name2 = inc.mk

Text Functions, for more information on the word and words functions used above. Flavors, for more information on simply-expanded (:=) variable definitions.