> Windows is now the only major platform that doesn't have a POSIXish
> shell; I'm somewhat suspicious of claims that the free software
> community should change its entire build toolchain because of one
> proprietary Microsoft operating system.
There are several points here.
While Windows is the only major platform which doesn't have a POSIX
shell, it is on the other hand the platform which has like 80 or 90%
market share. So one could also say "only 10 to 20% of installed systems
have a POSIX shell".
I also have the impression that open source projects which are
portable between UNIX and Windows are the most successful projects:
Firefox, Thunderbird, OOo, gcc, Python, Ruby, Apache, MySQL, php, ...
Also if you are in a setting where you have Windows and UNIX users,
software which runs on both systems has a significant advantage. So IMO
it makes sense to support also Windows if you want to spread the use of
free software and give people power over their data again.
Beside portability that there are enough other reasons to switch from
autotools to something easier to use. I know there are gurus which
understand autotools, but my impression is that the big majority of Linux
developers doesn't really understand it. That's my personal experience in
KDE and with other developers I know from real life. It's also hard to
convince e.g. students who have a hard time learning C or C++ that they
additionally have to learn autoconf, automake, libtool, shell, m4 and
make syntax. It just doesn't make sense if the build tool is more
complicated than the programming language itself.
About cygwin: I really like it, but I come from Linux background. While
it doesn't take too long to install it, you end up with a UNIXish
environment, which takes maybe around 100 MB or more on the harddisk and
which feels really alien to Windows-only users/developers. And all that
just to get a tool to generate build files ?
One of the nice things about cmake is that doesn't have any additional
requirements like some libraries or scripting languages, you just install
it and will work together with your native build tool (make, Xcode,