Just a thought on this thread (it might be obvious, I just want it to be
"on the table"):

It would probably be good if whatever comes out of this interesting
Ruby-make discussion plays nicely together with the RubyGems/Raa.succ
ideas discussed previously. Ie. the tool should be good enough to be the
preferred choice for specifying how to unpack, setup, build, test and
install our Ruby extensions (whether implemented in C, Ruby or
what-have-you).

I would also think that the Software Carpentry contest a year or so back
have some intereting ideas to ponder...

/Robert Feldt