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Some macros should be run before another macro if both are called, but neither requires that the other be called. For example, a macro that changes the behavior of the C compiler should be called before any macros that run the C compiler. Many of these dependencies are noted in the documentation.

Autoconf provides the AC_BEFORE macro to warn users when macros with this kind of dependency appear out of order in a file. The warning occurs when creating configure from, not when running configure.

For example, AC_PROG_CPP checks whether the C compiler can run the C preprocessor when given the -E option. It should therefore be called after any macros that change which C compiler is being used, such as AC_PROG_CC. So AC_PROG_CC contains:


This warns the user if a call to AC_PROG_CPP has already occurred when AC_PROG_CC is called.

Macro: AC_BEFORE (this-macro-name, called-macro-name)

Make M4 print a warning message to the standard error output if called-macro-name has already been called. this-macro-name should be the name of the macro that is calling AC_BEFORE. The macro called-macro-name must have been defined using AC_DEFUN or else contain a call to AC_PROVIDE to indicate that it has been called.