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SubjectRe: [PATCH] kbuild: clarify the difference between obj-y and obj-m w.r.t. descending
On Thu, Dec 19, 2019 at 08:51:00PM +0900, Masahiro Yamada wrote:
> Kbuild descends into a directory by either 'y' or 'm', but there is an
> important difference.
> Kbuild combines the built-in objects into built-in.a in each directory.
> The built-in.a in the directory visited by obj-y is merged into the
> built-in.a in the parent directory. This merge happens recursively when
> Kbuild is ascending back towards the top directory, so built-in objects
> are linked into vmlinux eventually. This works properly only when the
> Makefile that specifies obj-y is reachable by the chain of obj-y.
> On the other hand, Kbuild does not take built-in.a from the directory
> visited by obj-m. This it, all the objects in that directory are supposed
> to be modular. If Kbuild descends into a directory by obj-m, but the
> Makefile in the sub-directory specifies obj-y, those objects are just
> left orphan.
> The current statement "Kbuild only uses this information to decide that
> it needs to visit the directory" is misleading. Clarify the difference.
> Reported-by: Johan Hovold <>
> Signed-off-by: Masahiro Yamada <>

Looks good! Thanks for fixing this.

Reviewed-by: Johan Hovold <>

> ---
> Documentation/kbuild/makefiles.rst | 16 +++++++++++++---
> 1 file changed, 13 insertions(+), 3 deletions(-)
> diff --git a/Documentation/kbuild/makefiles.rst b/Documentation/kbuild/makefiles.rst
> index b9b50553bfc5..d7e6534a8505 100644
> --- a/Documentation/kbuild/makefiles.rst
> +++ b/Documentation/kbuild/makefiles.rst
> @@ -297,9 +297,19 @@ more details, with real examples.
> If CONFIG_EXT2_FS is set to either 'y' (built-in) or 'm' (modular)
> the corresponding obj- variable will be set, and kbuild will descend
> down in the ext2 directory.
> - Kbuild only uses this information to decide that it needs to visit
> - the directory, it is the Makefile in the subdirectory that
> - specifies what is modular and what is built-in.
> +
> + Kbuild uses this information not only to decide that it needs to visit
> + the directory, but also to decide whether or not to link objects from
> + the directory into vmlinux.
> +
> + When Kbuild descends into the directory with 'y', all built-in objects
> + from that directory are combined into the built-in.a, which will be
> + eventually linked into vmlinux.
> +
> + When Kbuild descends into the directory with 'm', in contrast, nothing
> + from that directory will be linked into vmlinux. If the Makefile in
> + that directory specifies obj-y, those objects will be left orphan.
> + It is very likely a bug of the Makefile or of dependencies in Kconfig.
> It is good practice to use a `CONFIG_` variable when assigning directory
> names. This allows kbuild to totally skip the directory if the

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