Free Make Utilities

Program maintenance tool to automate building of computer software

Free Make Utilities

Make utilities are software used by programmers to automate the process of building an application from its component source files in a convenient and efficient way. They use a specialized script or batch file, called a "Makefile", with a syntax designed specifically for handling tasks like compiling source code, dealing with dependencies and the other things programmers typically have to mess with when creating a computer program.

For those wondering about its usefulness: a make program is more handy to use than script files for building programs, even if you're using advanced shells such as those listed on the Free Command Line Shells, since they can automatically do things like only recompiling source code files that have changed, or source code files that have not changed themselves but have dependent files (eg, files that they include) that have been modified. While you can also do this manually using any shell script or batch file, it requires additional effort to write (and debug) a script that works correctly, whereas it's simple to write rules for such tasks in a makefile.

Before you rush to get one of the following make software, be aware that a large number of the development systems listed on the Free C/C++ Compilers, Interpreters and Cross Compilers already come with their own make utility, so you may not need to bother if you're writing a C/C++ program. Of course, each MAKE program has its own set of features and strengths, and you may still prefer one of the standalone MAKE programs listed below.

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Free MAKE Software (Program Maintenance Tool)

CMake New

This open source cross-platform build automation tool works with the native build environment provided by the system / compiler by generating standard build files. For example, it can generate makefiles for Unix-type systems and projects/workspaces for Microsoft Visual C++.


Dmake is a program maintainence utility (make) for Windows, Mac OS X (I think), Linux, Solaris, etc. The program is distributed in source form, although development on the utility appear to have ceased.

GNU Make

This is arguably the most widely used Make utility in the Unix world. It has been ported to numerous other operating systems including Windows, MSDOS, and so on. GNU Make (like all MAKE utilities) allow you to automate the creation of your program executables (binaries) and other routine program maintainence activities.

FT Jam

FT Jam is a program maintainence utility like the Unix MAKE utility. It works on Linux and other Unix-type systems, Windows, OS/2, VMS, Mac OS, BeOS, etc. It automatically handles C/C++ header and object file dependencies, so you don't have to create rules just to declare object files or the header files inserted via #include statements.

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