At our November 2003 meeting, Joe VanAndel of NCAR reminded
us of all of those annoying problems we've had to manage
with make over the years, and
the complexity that developers face when trying to make
portable software distributions with autoconf/automake.
The solution that Joe has been using in his work
is SCons, a next-generation build tool
based on Python scripts. By using a flexible, extensible
foundation, SCons can easily be extended to handle new
languages (with new ways of recognizing dependencies);
a wide range of methods for storing source
files, including RCS/SCCS, CVS, and even tar and zip;
and new development environments including Visual Studio.
You can read all about SCons in Joe's presentation slides