Build Glossary

clobber build

A build performed with an initially empty object directory. All build actions must be performed.


An executable file produced by configure that takes the generated build config and writes out files used to build the tree. Traditionally, config.status writes out a bunch of Makefiles.


A generated shell script which detects the current system environment, applies a requested set of build configuration options, and writes out metadata to be consumed by the build system.

incremental build

A build performed with the result of a previous build in an object directory. The build should not have to work as hard because it will be able to reuse the work from previous builds.

install manifest

A file containing metadata describing file installation rules. A large part of the build system consists of copying files around to appropriate places. We write out special files describing the set of required operations so we can process the actions efficiently. These files are install manifests.


A shell script used to configure the build system.


An API for accessing a common and limited subset of the build and run-time configuration. See mozinfo.

object directory

A directory holding the output of the build system. The build system attempts to isolate all file modifications to this directory. By convention, object directories are commonly directories under the source directory prefixed with obj-. e.g. obj-firefox.