re: why doesn't Axiom use autoconf.
Poul-Henning Kamp wrote an essay that contains the essence
of the reply:
A Generation Lost in the Bazaarhttp://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=2349257
"Even more maddening is that 31,085 of those lines are in a
unreadably ugly shell script called configure. The idea
is that the
configure script performs approximately 200
automated tests, so that the
user is not burdened with
configuring libtool manually. This is a
horribly bad idea,
already much criticized back in the 1980s when it
as it allows source code to pretend to be portable behind the
veneer of the configure script, rather than actually having the
of portability to begin with. It is a travesty that the
autoconf adds languages like M4, shell scripts, and makefiles.
It hardens the shape of the source tree. New versions are
released that break old versions. The "new" is added and
the "old" is never removed. It is complexity by accretion,
black paint over veneer.
Axiom's goal has been, and continues to be, removing
dependencies. Meta is gone. Boot is gone. Noweb is gone.