Like many projects, Gnome makes use of a number of build tools. This includes the GNU build tools:
And some other miscelaneous tools (some developped within the Gnome project itself):
In general, developers don't want to think about these tools -- they are there to do a job, rather than an end in themselves. This has led to some neglect in the build infrastructure, and in some cases packages won't build with the modern versions of the tools.
This is most obvious with some packages that can't be configured with versions of Automake > 1.4. Since that version of Automake contains a large number of known bugs, and modern versions of Automake have diverged a bit, it limits the amount of upstream support we can get from Automake developers in case of problems.
This page will collect information on "best practices" for using the build tools, and the status of various jobs related to cleaning up packages.