I have a love/hate relationship with GNU Make. Yes, it’s picky about syntax and it’s difficult to write cross-platform Makefiles (though that’s not really GNU Make’s fault), but a make utility of some sort is mostly ubiquitous across the free Unix-like platforms.
When I need to compile a project written in C or C++ (or when I want to automate certain system administration tasks, such as remembering to update my Postfix files when I update them), I use GNU Make. It does a difficult job without much thanks or thought. I suspect that its maintainers, like me, would like to see a cleaner and friendlier replacement sometime in the future, but for now, its ubiquity and its power are definite advantages.
Thanks to everyone who’s contributed to make and GNU Make!