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5.2 Recipe Echoing

Normally make prints each line of the recipe before it is executed. We call this echoing because it gives the appearance that you are typing the lines yourself.

When a line starts with ‘@’, the echoing of that line is suppressed. The ‘@’ is discarded before the line is passed to the shell. Typically you would use this for a command whose only effect is to print something, such as an echo command to indicate progress through the makefile:

     @echo About to make distribution files

When make is given the flag ‘-n’ or ‘--just-print’ it only echoes most recipes, without executing them. See Summary of Options. In this case even the recipe lines starting with ‘@’ are printed. This flag is useful for finding out which recipes make thinks are necessary without actually doing them.

The ‘-s’ or ‘--silent’ flag to make prevents all echoing, as if all recipes started with ‘@’. A rule in the makefile for the special target .SILENT without prerequisites has the same effect (see Special Built-in Target Names). .SILENT is essentially obsolete since ‘@’ is more flexible.