What’s wrong with the GNU autotools?

The GNU build system (aka Autotools) is/are too fricking hard to use. But I’m split… when the conventions of autotools are embraced, the product is quite portable. Though not very maintainable. Is it impossible to be infinitely adaptable and still be user friendly?

Ian Lance Taylor captures what’s wrong with autotools quite nicely. Ian says Cmake isn’t a suitable replacement, but perhaps it could evolve into one.

Here’s a nice comparison of several alternatives.