It seems the word "make" is being treated as a stopword by SO's search facility -- a search for it simply takes me to the search description page, just as a search for "the" does.

This has prevented me from being able to search SO for Windows-y alternatives to the Unix utility make, which as you probably know is a build tool.

(Bonus recursive twist: Yes, I tried searching Meta to see whether this question had been asked already... :) )

[EDIT] Kevin Montrose has pointed out that "make" is justified as a stopword, but I've since discovered that SO drops it even from exact phrase searches like "alternatives to make". That's clearly undesirable, and it seems that the behaviour is already acknowledged by Jeff in comments on this answer. Not clear what (if anything) he plans to do about it though...

  • 1
    You might consider cmake or msbuild. Commented Sep 21, 2010 at 6:05

3 Answers 3


This is now supported, though it's not tremendously useful.

  • Great! Sorry you had to wait 4 years for my +1... Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 12:41

Use Google (and observe why its a stop word) or do a tag search.

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    Thanks! As your Google search shows, its stopword status is usually justified, but I think a search on SO for "alternatives to make" (including the quotes) should not discard the word "make" as it currently does. Commented Sep 21, 2010 at 6:09

You can look at the make tags:

  • make: 500+ entries
  • cmake 300+ entries
  • makefile 700+ entries

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