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From: Greg Chicares (chicares_at_[hidden])
Date: 2001-06-06 22:09:13

williamkempf_at_[hidden] wrote:
> The only purpose of
> the Clean target is to create a pristine directory/file structure for
> distribution.

Another purpose is to address mysterious problems. At least in the
borland newsgroups, if you have a problem making some target and you
can reproduce it but it doesn't make sense, then the standard advice
is to delete all object files, precompiled header files, and so on,
and then rebuild. This often works.

A 'clean' target is also useful if you want to measure how long it
should take a user to build the program from scratch.

Finding out what problems someone else may encounter is another
reason for running 'clean' before testing a build. Maybe you have a
directory that's supposed to be created, but you've changed the
jam/make file so that it no longer gets created properly. I got a
call at home tonight due to a problem like that.

The make manual at gives several flavors of 'clean' targets
with a rationale for each--searching it for 'maintainer-clean' will
take you right to the relevant section.

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