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to autoconf or not (was Re: Multi-OS Makefiles)

Quoting Ted Unangst (tedu_(_at_)_zeitbombe_(_dot_)_org):
> On Sat, 7 Aug 2004, Darren Reed wrote:
> > This is the first time I've ever had anyone say that autoconf is hard
> > to use/understand.  I can only put it down to you having some bad
> > experiences with it?
> i find that remarkable.  but i'll add a second.  i find auto* hard to 
> use/understand.  in fact, i don't, so i don't use them.

Yes, it's hard and complex and ugly.
But clearly many of you are not recalling having to edit a bunch of
Makefiles and .h files after thoroughly reading READMEs and INSTALLs
and spending a day or two learning the details of a program.

Even Perl's "Configure" was a welcome step up
("is your machine big endian or little endian?").

Early compiles on the Alpha involved lots of porting work (no, an int
is not the same as a pointer).

The benefits of having a package under autoconf are huge compared
to "edit the makefile and hope the author actually understands the
variety of platforms out there."

Plus it's good to have on a resume.

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