Build Systems and Make

A weekly podcast with Cliff Click talking about all things to do with programming, programmers and computer performance.

This is a short talk on build systems and the olde school “make”



2 thoughts on “Build Systems and Make

  1. Great podcast. I also like make, I recall a distributed make build process I created a few years back that really sped up our build process.
    It was a smallish team (approx. 10 developers) writing in C with approx. 300 to 400 source files.
    I renamed make.exe and created a new make.exe wrapper that dup’d stdout and stdin to 1-byte blocking pipes. Because make always echos the command before executing it, I defined which commands were non-serial and sent them to another machine for execution. (I also created my own cc.exe wrapper to do the lying/distributing)
    e.g. for cc.exe echo I would “lie” to real make (return 0 “success”) and send the actual cc command to another system, but when any non-cc.exe command was echoed, I would stop reading stdout pipe which would “pause” make’s execution until all of the distributed cc.exe jobs finished. I also had some code that reassembled the various cc.exe stdout/stderr outputs to their makefile order. The coolest thing was that this required absolutely zero changes to the developers existing makefiles. I scaled it up to 10 “slave” PC’s and kept getting faster, just compiling over a network connection, leaving the cc.exe .obj files in the make system’s original directory. Official build times went from 6 hours down to 15 minutes.
    It was the most fun I’ve ever had working on a build system.

    • Wow, that’s an amazing war story! I’ve made some crazy build systems (distributed perl scripts? Running on 3 different cpus / 8 different OS’s) but that one takes the cake.

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