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The effect of `--gnu' and `--gnits'

   The `--gnu' option (or `gnu' in the `AUTOMAKE_OPTIONS' variable)
causes `automake' to check the following:
   * The files `INSTALL', `NEWS', `README', `AUTHORS', and `ChangeLog',
     plus one of `COPYING.LIB', `COPYING.LESSER' or `COPYING', are
     required at the topmost directory of the package.
   * The options `no-installman' and `no-installinfo' are prohibited.
   Note that this option will be extended in the future to do even more
checking; it is advisable to be familiar with the precise requirements
of the GNU standards.  Also, `--gnu' can require certain non-standard
GNU programs to exist for use by various maintainer-only targets; for
instance in the future `pathchk' might be required for `make dist'.
   The `--gnits' option does everything that `--gnu' does, and checks
the following as well:
   * `make installcheck' will check to make sure that the `--help' and
     `--version' really print a usage message and a version string,
     respectively.  This is the `std-options' option (*note Options::).
   * `make dist' will check to make sure the `NEWS' file has been
     updated to the current version.
   * `VERSION' is checked to make sure its format complies with Gnits
   * If `VERSION' indicates that this is an alpha release, and the file
     `README-alpha' appears in the topmost directory of a package, then
     it is included in the distribution.  This is done in `--gnits'
     mode, and no other, because this mode is the only one where version
     number formats are constrained, and hence the only mode where
     Automake can automatically determine whether `README-alpha' should
     be included.
   * The file `THANKS' is required.