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The configure script facilitates the discovery and configuration of the software building environment. Many source packages contain a configure script generated using the autoconf tool. The configure script is usually accompanied by a input file that is used to generate a Makefile with appropriate configuration options to compile and build the software package using Make. The configure script provides a simple and consistent way to build, compile and install the package from source code using a set of simple commands:

make check
make install


The autoreconf tool can be used to regenerate the configure script from the source files. Additional software such as autoconf-archive may be needed in order to do this. The following command is recommended when regenerating the configure script and other related files.

autoreconf --force --install --symlink

Debian package builds automatically regenerate the configure script via debhelper and dh-autoreconf.

Error Messages

configure: error: source directory already configured

run "make distclean" there first

configure: error: Too many levels of symbolic links
This error may occur when a third party configure script is being run within a subdirectory of the project directory: # This may produce an error on some systems:
 cd ~/foobar
 mkdir build
 cd build

 ../build/cmd/.config: Too many levels of symbolic links


Use a build directory outside of the current project directory:

cd ~
mkdir foobuild
cd foobuild