m4 is a general-purpose macro processor included in most Unix-like operating systems, and is a component of the POSIX standard. The language was designed by Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie for the original versions of UNIX. It is an extension of an earlier macro processor, m3, written by Ritchie for an unknown AP-3 minicomputer. The macro preprocessor operates as a text-replacement tool. It is employed to re-use text templates, typically in computer programming applications, but also in text editing and text-processing applications. Most users require m4 as a dependency of GNU autoconf.
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