Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am trying to compile a gnome application and I am curious what the output means when I run the autogen.sh script:

~/Documents/Code/window-picker-applet $./autogen.sh
autoreconf: Entering directory `.'
autoreconf: configure.ac: not using Gettext
autoreconf: running: aclocal 
autoreconf: configure.ac: tracing
autoreconf: running: libtoolize --install --copy
libtoolize: Consider adding `-I m4' to ACLOCAL_AMFLAGS in Makefile.am.
autoreconf: running: /usr/bin/autoconf
autoreconf: running: /usr/bin/autoheader
autoreconf: running: automake --add-missing --copy --no-force
data/Makefile.am:11: `%'-style pattern rules are a GNU make extension
data/Makefile.am:11: wildcard $(top_srcdir: non-POSIX variable name
data/Makefile.am:11: (probably a GNU make extension)
autoreconf: Leaving directory `.'
[Output trunkated...]

Why am I getting the info configure.ac: not using Gettext? Is that a warning and should I change some of the configuration files to fix it? I know the application has a po/ folder so I think it should be using Gettext, hence I am confused about this warning.

I also had a lot of warnings with the N_ macro not being defined, so this might be related? [Update] See comment below [/Update]

share|improve this question
The issue with the N_ macros not being defined was because the neccessary include (glib/gi18n.h) was missing. This had previously been in included with another include file (gtk/gtk.h) but it was removed in the latest gtk+ version. – lanoxx Feb 7 '12 at 18:38

What OS?

Likely your system does not have all or some of the gettext system, namely the development portions. In many distributions, e.g. Debian/Ubuntu, gettext is separated into multiple packages: gettext-base and gettext.

The gettext-base package is for running programs which are multi-lingual, while gettext has the necessary parts for building.

share|improve this answer
I am running on Ubuntu (11.10). Gettext is installed but not gettext-base. – lanoxx Apr 25 '12 at 9:49
I am dealing with patching (via src code + ./configure) an old Fedora built platform with more code, and I'm running into this problem. Installing gettext, and the re-./configure on autoconf/autogen/m4 hasn't helped so far. I notice that pkg-config doesn't think getttext is installed. But, I notice that pkg-config on more modern systems doesn't list gettext either, even when gettext-base is installed. – mcr Aug 17 '15 at 3:04

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.