standards.info: Managing Releases

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The Release Process

Making a release is more than just bundling up your source files in a
tar file and putting it up for FTP.  You should set up your software so
that it can be configured to run on a variety of systems.  Your Makefile
should conform to the GNU standards described below, and your directory
layout should also conform to the standards discussed below.  Doing so
makes it easy to include your package into the larger framework of all
GNU software.