Its time to leave autotools and learn other build tools

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The most promising tools I found are SCons, CMake and Waf ( little brother of SCons )

SCons is written in Python and very extensible, but it might be slow for other large projects [1].

CMake is written in C++, is faster than SCons but is arguably not as extensible as SCons [1].

[1] Evalutation of various build tools

Here is another article: Battle of the build systems