So after a few days of reading I came to the conclusion that getting eclipse to manage Autotools build is very possible if not easy. Then I started reading some configure.ac’s and makefiles.am’s and realized that real life is a lot more complicated.
The problem still remains of course that the autotools have a high learning curve. I discussing things with Jeff Johnston (author of the current Autotools plugin in eclipse) and he had some neat ideas. His suggestion was that we create a set of wizards that will enable users to create an Autotools setup for new projects to build an executable, a static library or a shared library. This will not help people who are editing an existing makefile but will make life easier for people who are getting started. The question is are more people setting up new build systems or editing existing ones. WDYT ? And, if it is the latter how can we lower the learning curve for those developers ?