Aleksander Demko, June, 2007
This is the most obscure, wacky ass build configuration system in existence, yet is somehow the backbone of most open source projects. That -- along with preferring C over C++, but that's another post -- is what I think provides a huge barrier to entry for many developers to contribute to open source projects, myself included.
It should not take me (a veteran Linux and C user) a full day to build glib (the gtk+ thing, not libc) from subversion source. It's like a billion steps, each failing with weird error messages that you have to google app to get resolved.
Seriously, we have:
Combine all that with something made from perl or python (please, shell + m4? let's give it up) and it should be easy to make a make-configuration building tool. I'm sure autoconf can do all kinda of magic, but the learning curve is just too steep and the easy-cases aren't easy at all (which is why many people just use pkg-config + make directly)
I'd totally be willing to help out with something like that, provided I can build the thing myself :)
ps. I also made buildboss (found here ) which works for my own specific types of projects. It's just one approach though (involving tagging the source files), which I'm unsure if I would use in future configuration management systems.
ps. decent link