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Table of Contents

Introduction to Autoconf

Autoconf is an extensible package of m4 macros that produce shell scripts to automatically configure software source code packages. These scripts can adapt the packages to many kinds of UNIX-like systems without manual user intervention. Autoconf creates a configuration script for a package from a template file that lists the operating system features that the package can use, in the form of m4 macro calls.

Producing configuration scripts using Autoconf requires GNU m4. You should install GNU m4 (version 1.4.5 or later) before configuring Autoconf, so that Autoconf's configure script can find it. The configuration scripts produced by Autoconf are self-contained, so their users do not need to have Autoconf (or GNU m4).

The manual is available online.

Downloading Autoconf

GNU Autoconf releases can be found on or one of the mirrors. You can also order a CD-ROM from the FSF or use other methods to obtain a copy.

Third party macros can be downloaded from The GNU Autoconf Macro Archive.

Alpha/beta releases of Autoconf can be found in, and the latest in-development sources for Autoconf can always be fetched through CVS from Savannah. DO NOT use Autoconf sources from these locations for production use.

Autoconf Mailing Lists

Autoconf has several moderated mailing lists, each with an archive.

For general Autoconf discussions, use

Email bug reports to

If you have found a bug in Autoconf that hasn't yet been fixed in the latest CVS sources of Autoconf, please send a patch (made for the CVS sources, not the release sources) to

Related Software

Autoconf is often used together with the following software systems:

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Updated: $Id: autoconf.html,v 1.21 2006/07/17 16:34:13 eggert Exp $