What Does Autotools Mean?

Autotools is a set of programming tools that are used to make a source code package portable to a range of systems, including UNIX and others. It is widely used in various open source packages and free software.


Autotools is also known as the GNU Build System.

Techopedia Explains Autotools

Autotools find wide applications when a software program is to be made portable to a range of coding environments. For example, if a certain C language code is not portable on a different environment as certain files are missing, Autotools can manage this efficiently with the help of various tools like autoconf, automake, aclocal and others. Autoconf is used to develop the configure script, while automake is used to develop makefile in templates.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.