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Stu -- Build Automation

This is Stu, a build tool in the spirit of Make, but with three features that set it apart:

  • Parametrized rules: Like GNU Make's '%' character, but there can be multiple parameters, and they have names. The syntax is '$NAME', where NAME can be any string. Parameters are injected transparently into the commands.
  • Dynamic dependencies: The dependencies of a target can be generated dynamically. When a dependency is enclosed in square brackets, it means that that file is built and dependencies are read from within that file.
  • Parentheses and brackets support concatenation, allowing parametrized filenames to be generated in the first place.

In many scenarios, these three features interact judiciously to give very concise and easy to understand constructs that are nearly impossible to realize with Make.

See these blog articles for motivation:

For documentation, compile and read the manpage, or go directly to:

For more specific documentation of particular aspects of Stu, see the files in the doc/ directory.


  • Version 2.6 is out: canonicalization of filenames is implemented

  • Tip: Set "export STU_OPTIONS=-E" in your .bashrc file to get explanations of common error messages in Stu.

See the file 'NEWS' for more news.

Installation Guide

Stu is not yet in the main package repositories of common operating systems. See the file INSTALL for compiling Stu yourself, which is easy: We use the classical configure-make-install trio. Stu is written in C++14 for POSIX platforms. You should have no problem getting it to run on vanilla Linux and other POSIX-compliant platforms.

If you're interested in making Stu packages available for other operating systems and need help, please contact [email protected].

Use Stu

To use Stu, replace your 'Makefile' with a 'main.stu' file, and instead of calling 'make', call 'stu'.

To see an example of Stu used in a large data mining project, see the file 'main.stu' in the KONECT-Analysis project:


Stu was originally written to accommodate the KONECT project (Koblenz Network Collection -- It is thus mainly used for large data mining projects, where it manages everything from acquiring data from the web, preprocessing data in various ways, to performing data mining experiments, to generating plots and compiling the resulting Latex papers. It is also used for compiling C/C++ code, for generating tarballs, for generating websites, and by data scientists and students associated with Jérôme Kunegis.

The name "Stu" follows the precedents of Make replacements such as Cook, Bake, and Brew in referring to kitchen-related verbs, and also honors the author of the original Unix Make, Stuart Feldman.

Stu was initiated by Jérôme Kunegis at the University of Koblenz-Landau (Germany), and is currently maintained at the University of Namur (Belgium), with help from other contributors; see the file AUTHORS.

Stu is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

Stu is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

For support, write to Jérôme Kunegis [email protected], or go to

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