AM_CPPFLAGS is used by cpp and c_glib. They both add their include directories to AM_CPPFLAGS. However, since thrift header files names are generic (e.g. Processor.h) and can be reused per language, like with cpp and cocoa (as of 0.12), there is possibility for conflict due cpp and cocoa using same header file names. Automake supports target_CPPFLAGS instead which appears to limit the compile flags scope.