GNU make is a build automation utility for running builds on various Linux flavored platforms. It can easily build targets and can be integrated with other build automation utilities for this platform. It avoids rebuilding unneeded targets and thus saves time and improves overall efficiency. GNU make build process supports nesting of make files. You can easily specify a particular static pattern rule for compilation of source packages. You can do multiple level of code optimization during compilation using the optimization flags. Also, It can support various types of make file names using the flag option available.
Room for Improvement:
GNU make has just the basic build automation features and is not smart enough to handle complex build issues e.g. it cannot handle circular dependency in the makefiles and requires you to manually fix them. Also it cannot generate builds targeted for different platform and requires the end user to use some other third party tool for the same. GNU make is a bad candidate for builds that require incremental builds often, as it does not support this feature. Due to all these features it is recommended for small to medium projects only and is not suitable for very complex and heavy projects which requires various circular dependency etc.
Free and open source build automation tool suitable for small to medium projects. It is available on almost all platforms. You can easily nest make files for multiple levels and nonstandard make file names are also supported with the help of the flag option. Makefiles contains various rules to execute, various include and library directives which aids in the compilation process. It uses time stamping feature to determine which modules needs a rebuild and executes them. Suffers from circular dependency and is not capable of handling very complex projects.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Jul 23 2012