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14.4 Uninstall

As if things arent confusing enough, there is still one more major installation-related feature which we haven't mentioned: uninstall. Automake adds an uninstall target to your `Makefile' which does the reverse of install: it deletes the newly installed package.

Unlike install, there is no uninstall-data or uninstall-exec; while possible in theory we don't think this would be useful enough to actually use. Like install, you can write uninstall-local or uninstall-hook rules.

In our experience, uninstall is not a very useful feature. Automake implements it because it is mandated by the GNU Standards, but it doesn't work reliably across packages. Maintainers who write install hooks typically neglect to write uninstall hooks. Also, since it can't reliably uninstall a previously installed version of a package, it isn't useful for what most people would want to use it for anyway. We recommend using a real packaging system, several of which are freely available. In particular, GNU Stow, RPM, and the Debian packaging system seem like good choices.

This document was generated by Gary V. Vaughan on February, 8 2006 using texi2html