AS a certain wise man once said to me, people do amazing amount of really hard work to avoid doing some very light work.
This phrase could be applied in the design and execution of libtool, and most certainly in autoconf, and all that. I guess I enjoyed reading this rant, but such enjoyment does me no credit; I enjoyed it because it did was agree with my disgust for crappy build systems like autotools.
Much of the complexity appears stems from the bad assumption that good design is flexible and adaptable. It is reflected in the notion that good build system adapts to the environment, rather than simply dictating how environment must work to be acceptable for the build system.
Socially, we all do our own thing and try to get along, nobody can force anybody else to do anything. Where people can't agree, complex compatibility measures get designed to allow every choice that exists, and the world moves on. The end result however is often not great. The bazaar's problems are not at the same level as the end-user's problems. Bazaar's problem is cooperation and allowing choice; end user's problems are more like lack of consistency and overall product vision and roadmap. The bazaar, I guess, can not deliver what end users need.
I fear the future when Wayland arrives and with its client-side decorations we can see per-app window decorations. Not only will decorations look different, the close buttons will be at left edge on one half of the applications and at right edge in others, because the developer groups for these applications were different and did not agree where the buttons should go. Time is running out.