September 8th, 2004 — Achieving Source-Level Software Portability Using GNU Autoconf, Automake, Libtool, and Make — Robert P. Goddard

Published: Wed 01 September 2004
By nwcpp

In 2004.


3855 Monte Villa Parkway
Bothell, Washington 98021


If you have ever downloaded “open-source” software as source code from GNU or elsewhere, you have witnessed the following magic:

make check
make install

after which the software just works, even for very complex packages, no matter which of a very large range of systems you happen to be running.

Yes, it even does Windows. I will describe a powerful set of tools that will help you to achieve this level of simplicity (for the user) and portability for your applications. The cost is surprisingly low in time and effort, and zero for the tools.


Bob Goddard has been an active member of NW C++ UG for many years. You will recognize his face. He has worked at the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory since 1980. He is the primary author of the Sonar Simulation Toolset (SST) software, a large C++ system for simulation of sound in the sea. SST is being used at several Navy and university laboratories to generate artificial underwater sound, which is used to develop new sonar systems, train sonar operators, and predict performance of new and existing sonar systems and tactics. He has also worked on other projects related to underwater acoustics, including simulation, analysis, and data acquisition applications. His niche is in the gray overlap area between software engineering and “real” science.

For more details, go to,, and

Click here to download the slides from the presentation