AutotoolsToolchain

Warning

These tools are still experimental (so subject to breaking changes) but with very stable syntax. We encourage the usage of it to be prepared for Conan 2.0.

Available since: 1.35.0

The AutotoolsToolchain is the toolchain generator for Autotools. It will generate shell scripts containing environment variable definitions that the autotools build system can understand.

Important

This class will require very soon to define both the “host” and “build” profiles. It is very recommended to start defining both profiles immediately to avoid future breaking. Furthermore, some features, like trying to cross-compile might not work at all if the “build” profile is not provided.

The AutotoolsToolchain generator can be used by name in conanfiles:

conanfile.py
class Pkg(ConanFile):
    generators = "AutotoolsToolchain"
conanfile.txt
[generators]
AutotoolsToolchain

And it can also be fully instantiated in the conanfile generate() method:

from conan import ConanFile
from conan.tools.gnu import AutotoolsToolchain

class App(ConanFile):
    settings = "os", "arch", "compiler", "build_type"

    def generate(self):
        tc = AutotoolsToolchain(self)
        tc.generate()

The AutotoolsToolchain will generate after a conan install command the conanautotoolstoolchain.sh or conanautotoolstoolchain.bat files:

$ conan install conanfile.py # default is Release
$ source conanautotoolstoolchain.sh
# or in Windows
$ conanautotoolstoolchain.bat

This generator will append information to the CPPFLAGS, LDFLAGS, CXXFLAGS, CFLAGS environment variables that translate the settings and options to the corresponding build flags like -stdlib=libstdc++, -std=gnu14, architecture flags, etc. It will also append the folder where the Conan generators are located to the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable.

This generator will also generate a file called conanbuild.conf containing two keys:

  • configure_args: Arguments to call the configure script.
  • make_args: Arguments to call the make script.
  • autoreconf_args: Arguments to call the autoreconf script.

The Autotools build helper will use that conanbuild.conf file to seamlessly call the configure and make script using these precalculated arguments.

It supports the following methods and attributes:

constructor

def __init__(self, conanfile, namespace=None):
  • conanfile: the current recipe object. Always use self.
  • namespace: this argument avoids collisions when you have multiple toolchain calls in the same recipe. By setting this argument, the conanbuild.conf file used to pass information to the build helper will be named as: <namespace>_conanbuild.conf. The default value is None meaning that the name of the generated file is conanbuild.conf. This namespace must be also set with the same value in the constructor of the Autotools build helper so that it reads the information from the proper file.

Attributes

You can change some attributes before calling the generate() method if you want to change some of the precalculated values:

from conan import ConanFile
from conan.tools.gnu import AutotoolsToolchain

class App(ConanFile):
    settings = "os", "arch", "compiler", "build_type"

    def generate(self):
        tc = AutotoolsToolchain(self)
        tc.configure_args.append("--my_argument")
        tc.generate()
  • configure_args: Additional arguments to be passed to the configure script.
    • By default the following arguments are passed:
      • --prefix: With the self.package_folder value.
      • --bindir=${prefix}/bin
      • --sbindir=${prefix}/bin
      • --libdir=${prefix}/lib
      • --includedir=${prefix}/include
      • --oldincludedir=${prefix}/include
      • --datarootdir=${prefix}/res
    • Also if the shared option exists it will add by default:
      • --enable-shared, --disable-static if shared==True
      • --disable-shared, --enable-static if shared==False
  • make_args (Defaulted to []): Additional arguments to be passed to he make script.
  • autoreconf_args (Defaulted to ["--force", "--install"]): Additional arguments to be passed to he make script.
  • extra_defines (Defaulted to []): Additional defines.
  • extra_cxxflags (Defaulted to []): Additional cxxflags.
  • extra_cflags (Defaulted to []): Additional cflags.
  • extra_ldflags (Defaulted to []): Additional ldflags.
  • ndebug: “NDEBUG” if the settings.build_type != Debug.
  • gcc_cxx11_abi: “_GLIBCXX_USE_CXX11_ABI” if gcc/libstdc++.
  • libcxx: Flag calculated from settings.compiler.libcxx.
  • fpic: True/False from options.fpic if defined.
  • cppstd: Flag from settings.compiler.cppstd
  • arch_flag: Flag from settings.arch
  • build_type_flags: Flags from settings.build_type
  • sysroot_flag: To pass the --sysroot flag to the compiler.
  • apple_arch_flag: Only when cross-building with Apple systems. Flags from settings.arch.
  • apple_isysroot_flag: Only when cross-building with Apple systems. Path to the root sdk.
  • msvc_runtime_flag: Flag from settings.compiler.runtime_type when compiler is msvc or settings.compiler.runtime when using the deprecated Visual Studio.

The following attributes are ready-only and will contain the calculated values for the current configuration and customized attributes. Some recipes might need to read them to generate custom build files (not strictly Autotools) with the configuration:

  • defines
  • cxxflags
  • cflags
  • ldflags
from conan import ConanFile
from conan.tools.gnu import AutotoolsToolchain

class App(ConanFile):
    settings = "os", "arch", "compiler", "build_type"

    def generate(self):
        tc = AutotoolsToolchain(self)
        # Customize the flags
        tc.extra_cxxflags = ["MyFlag"]

        # Read the computed flags and use them (write custom files etc)
        tc.defines
        tc.cxxflags
        tc.cflags
        tc.ldflags

If you want to change the default values for configure_args, adjust the cpp.package object at the layout() method:

def layout(self):
    ...
    # For bindir and sbindir takes the first value:
    self.cpp.package.bindirs = ["mybin"]
    # For libdir takes the first value:
    self.cpp.package.libdirs = ["mylib"]
    # For includedir and oldincludedir takes the first value:
    self.cpp.package.includedirs = ["myinclude"]
    # For datarootdir takes the first value:
    self.cpp.package.resdirs = ["myres"]

Note

It is not valid to change the self.cpp_info at the package_info() method.

conf

AutotoolsToolchain is affected by these [conf] variables:

  • tools.build:cxxflags list of extra C++ flags that will be used by CXXFLAGS.
  • tools.build:cflags list of extra of pure C flags that will be used by CFLAGS.
  • tools.build:sharedlinkflags list of extra linker flags that will be used by LDFLAGS.
  • tools.build:exelinkflags list of extra linker flags that will be used by by LDFLAGS.
  • tools.build:defines list of preprocessor definitions that will be used by CPPFLAGS.
  • tools.build:sysroot defines the --sysroot flag to the compiler.

Customizing the environment

If your Makefile or configure scripts need some other environment variable rather than CPPFLAGS, LDFLAGS, CXXFLAGS or CFLAGS, you can customize it before calling the generate() method. Call the environment() method to calculate the mentioned variables and then add the variables that you need. The environment() method returns an Environment object:

from conan import ConanFile
from conan.tools.gnu import AutotoolsToolchain

class App(ConanFile):
    settings = "os", "arch", "compiler", "build_type"

    def generate(self):
        at = AutotoolsToolchain(self)
        env = at.environment()
        env.define("FOO", "BAR")
        at.generate(env)