I've read many nodes that describe diverse systems over the years, and again before I posted. I didn't see anything that does what I want. I saw a collection of ad-hoc systems, each different, each flawed. Each a duplication of engineering that is kept proprietary. The question why haven't we got a good, common solution for applications? We have a good common solution for modules.
The only thing I've seen that looks like a step in this direction is Shipwright. I haven't had a chance to fully dig in to the docs and experiment with it, so I can't comment on how good it is.
If there is a particular node that you think describes a great system, please post a link.
Are our build systems our crown jewels? Do we keep them secret to gain competitive advantage? Or are they too wound up in internal politics and history to be cleaned up enough that we wouldn't be too embarrassed to share?
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