automake.info: Clean

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What Gets Cleaned

   The GNU Makefile Standards specify a number of different clean rules.
See *Note Standard Targets for Users: (standards)Standard Targets.
   Generally the files that can be cleaned are determined automatically
by Automake.  Of course, Automake also recognizes some variables that
can be defined to specify additional files to clean.  These variables
are `MOSTLYCLEANFILES', `CLEANFILES', `DISTCLEANFILES', and
`MAINTAINERCLEANFILES'.
   As the GNU Standards aren't always explicit as to which files should
be removed by which target, we've adopted a heuristic which we believe
was first formulated by Franc,ois Pinard:
   * If `make' built it, and it is commonly something that one would
     want to rebuild (for instance, a `.o' file), then `mostlyclean'
     should delete it.
   * Otherwise, if `make' built it, then `clean' should delete it.
   * If `configure' built it, then `distclean' should delete it
   * If the maintainer built it, then `maintainer-clean' should delete
     it.
   We recommend that you follow this same set of heuristics in your
`Makefile.am'.