So a tool written in the mostly cathedral era, used to have portability across different style of cathedral, is an ugly piece of shit, and the fault is on the people that came after the mess was created ? They can be blamed for still using it, but as goes the quote there is two kind of systems :
"the kind nobody uses and the kind everyone bitches about"
His example is not really supporting his thesis. It is not a reason to discard the entire thesis, but come on, the beautiful Cathedral of Unix is more like the sagrada familia, and autotool a children of the pre dotcom era.