How to view commands executed by make

When you run make to build a project, sometimes not all the commands or internal workings are visible at the shell. Another example is Makefile generated by CMake. It hides all the commands that are actually being executed to compile the files of the project. Here are some methods to view what make is doing:

  • For Makefile generated by CMake, try this when you build using make:
$ make VERBOSE=1
  • For normal Makefile, try this:
$ make SHELL='sh -x'

This prints out all the commands executed by make preceded by a plus.

  • With newer versions of make, tracing is available as an option:
$ make --trace

Tried with: GNU Make 4.1 and Ubuntu 16.04

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