I'm trying to debug some very basic and unfinished Debian packaging for Open Dylan.

I'm getting errors in the Debian build log (gist).

The relevant bit is at the end, namely:

Preparing to install Open Dylan...
Copying sources...
cp: cannot create directory ‘/usr/local/sources’: Permission denied
Makefile:328: recipe for target 'install-stage' failed

This clearly corresponds to the lines starting at 342 in Makefile.in, namely:

# Install stage installs stage 3 into prefix
    @echo Preparing to install Open Dylan in $(prefix)...
    @install -d $(prefix)
    @echo Copying sources to $(prefix)/sources...
    @rm -rf $(prefix)/sources
    @cp -R $(abs_srcdir)/sources $(prefix)

Probably the last line is the culprit, but I'm having difficulty seeing what is going wrong.

It would help greatly if I could get the build to consistently echo every line before executing it, but as you can see in the extract quoted above, it didn't happen when I needed it to. Namely at that cp line.

NOTE: Open Dylan isn't using Automake, though they are using Autoconf. And so they have a handwritten Makefile.in.

UPDATE: Adding make -n to the dh_auto_build and dh_auto_install overrides works. Thusly:

        PATH=$(binpath):$$PATH make -n

        PATH=$(binpath):$$PATH make -n install

The new build log(gist) now has the following for the upstream Open Dylan Makefile install target:

echo Preparing to install Open Dylan...
install -d /usr/local
echo Copying sources...
rm -rf /usr/local/sources
cp -R /usr/local/src/opendylan/opendylan-2014.1/sources /usr/local
find /usr/local/sources -depth -name '.*' -exec rm -rf {} \;
rm -rf /usr/local/sources/bootstrap1-registry
echo Installing Open Dylan in /usr/local
install -d /usr/local/bin /usr/local/databases /usr/local/lib /usr/local/lib/runtime
install -d /usr/local/share/opendylan /usr/local/include/opendylan
cp -R /usr/local/src/opendylan/opendylan-2014.1/Bootstrap.3/bin /usr/local
cp -R /usr/local/src/opendylan/opendylan-2014.1/Bootstrap.3/databases /usr/local
cp -R /usr/local/src/opendylan/opendylan-2014.1/Bootstrap.3/include/opendylan /usr/local/include
# We use force here because on Mac OS X, the lib directory likely contains read-only
# static libraries for the Boehm GC.
cp -Rf /usr/local/src/opendylan/opendylan-2014.1/Bootstrap.3/lib /usr/local
cp -Rf /usr/local/src/opendylan/opendylan-2014.1/Bootstrap.3/share/opendylan /usr/local/share
cp -R /usr/local/src/opendylan/opendylan-2014.1/tools/lldb /usr/local/share/opendylan
cp -R /usr/local/src/opendylan/opendylan-2014.1/tools/bash_completion /usr/local/share/opendylan
cp /usr/local/src/opendylan/opendylan-2014.1/License.txt /usr/local
cp /usr/local/src/opendylan/opendylan-2014.1/packages/unix/README /usr/local
echo Done!

This is clearly all wrong from the beginning. For some reason, prefix here is /usr/local, while it should be /debian/tmp/usr (I think).

The first line of the Open Dylan Makefile.in has:

prefix          = $(DESTDIR)@prefix@

which looks kind of non-standard. In the generated Makefile, this becomes:

prefix          = $(DESTDIR)/usr/local

Normally Debian passes /usr to ./configure by default, so I'm not sure what happened here, or why (apparently), DESTDIR is blank.


The @ before some of the lines tells make "do not echo this line".

You could edit and remove some of the @s or strip them all from the Makefile with:

sed -i -e 's/^\(\t\+)@/\1/ ; s/\(^\t\+\)echo/\1@echo/' Makefile

The make doc extract by @Ortomala Lokni made a good point about echo, so i've modified the sed script to put an @ back before any echo commands.

To deal with Automake, you probably want to be a bit more careful with removing the @ characters, Automake uses @NAME@ to substitute variables into the ouput Makefile:

Maybe something like this, so that it doesn't change lines that begin with \t+@NAME@:

sed -ire 's/^(\t+)@([^ @]+ )/(\t)\1/ ; s/(^\t+)echo/\1@echo/' Makefile.in

To complete the cas answer you can read the GNU make manual which says:

Normally make prints each line of the recipe before it is executed. We call this echoing because it gives the appearance that you are typing the lines yourself.

When a line starts with ‘@’, the echoing of that line is suppressed. The ‘@’ is discarded before the line is passed to the shell. Typically you would use this for a command whose only effect is to print something, such as an echo command to indicate progress through the makefile:

@echo About to make distribution files

When make is given the flag ‘-n’ or ‘--just-print’ it only echoes most recipes, without executing them. See Summary of Options. In this case even the recipe lines starting with ‘@’ are printed. This flag is useful for finding out which recipes make thinks are necessary without actually doing them.

The ‘-s’ or ‘--silent’ flag to make prevents all echoing, as if all recipes started with ‘@’. A rule in the makefile for the special target .SILENT without prerequisites has the same effect (see Special Built-in Target Names). .SILENT is essentially obsolete since ‘@’ is more flexible.

  • Thank you for the answer. How would one pass the -n option via the Debian build system? – Faheem Mitha Nov 1 '15 at 23:27
  • 1
    Actually, it looks like amending my override from PATH=$(binpath):$$PATH make to PATH=$(binpath):$$PATH make -n works. – Faheem Mitha Nov 1 '15 at 23:37

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