The purpose of the make utility is to determine automatically which pieces of a large program need to be recompiled, and issue the commands to recompile them.
To prepare to use make, you must write a file called the makefile that describes the relationships among files in your program, and the states the commands for updating each file.
Sometime makefiles become so large, you need to debug them.
This article helps you to get make to work for you, not against you i.e. debugging make and its makefiles.
From the article:
Make and utilities like it are fundamental tools for streamlining the application build process. Learn the structure of the makefile, how to avoid common mistakes in its creation, and how to solve or work around portability issues and other problems as they crop up.
Most UNIX and Linux programs are built by running make. The make utility reads a file (generally named either “makefile” or “Makefile,” but hereafter merely referred to as “a makefile”) that contains instructions and performs various actions to build a program. In many build processes, the makefile is itself generated entirely by other software; for instance, the autoconf/automake programs are used to develop build routines. Other programs may ask you to directly edit a makefile, and of course, new development may require you to write one.
Read more at IBM developerworks [ibm.com]
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