24.1 Why autconfiscate
There are a few reasons to autoconfiscate a package. You might be
porting your package to a new platform for the first time, or your might
have outstripped the capabilities of an ad hoc system. Or, you might be
assuming maintenance of a package and you want to make it fit in with
other packages that use the GNU Autotools.
For instance, for libgcj, we wanted to distribute some libraries needed
for proper operation, such as the zip archiving program and the Boehm
garbage collector. In neither case was an autoconf framework available.
However, we felt one was required in order to give the overall package a
seamless and easy-to-use configuration and build system. This attention
to ease of install by users is important; it is one reason that the
GNU Autotools were written.
In another case, a group I worked with was taking over maintenance of a
preexisting package. We preferred an Autoconf-based solution to the
home-grown one already in use by the package -- the existing system was
based on platform tests, not feature tests, and was difficult to
navigate and extend.