July 22, 2024

Top 4 Open Source Build Automation Tools for Developers


Build automation tool, as the name suggests, stands for the meaning that this tool helps to automate the process of software building. To be more specific, build automation is the process of automating the compilation of human readable source code into machine readable binary code. Here we would like to share the Top 4 Open Source Build Automation Tools available for software developers in GNU/Linux systems.


GNU Make

GNU Make is an automation tool which controls the generation of executable and other non-source files of a program from the program’s source files. It is one of the most popular automation build tool for and uses a text file format in the name makefile. There are also some popular remakes of GNU Make which are available in non GNU/Linux systems such as BSD Make for FreeBSD,¬†OpenBSD & NetBSD and SunPro make for Solaris.

Features of GNU Make Build Automation Tool

  • GNU Make enables the end user to build and install your package without knowing the details of how that is done. because these details are recorded in the make file that you supply.
  • GNU Make is not limited to any particular language. For each non-source file in the program, the make file specifies the shell commands to compute it. These shell commands can run a compiler to produce an object file, the linker to produce an executable, ar to update a library, or TeX or Makeinfo to format documentation.
  • GNU Make is not limited to building a package. You can also use Make to control installing or uninstalling a package, generate tags tables for it, or anything else you want to do often enough to make it worth while writing down how to do it.



GNU Make Build Automation Tool
A sample GNU makefile


Apache Ant

Apache Ant is an automation tool, popular for Java Platform Development, which originated from the Apache Tomcat project in early 2000. It was a replacement for the Make build tool of Unix and was created due to a number of problems with Unix Make. It is moreover similar to GNU Make and is written in Java which makes use of XML file format.

Features of Apache Ant Build Automation Tool

  • Ant is written in Java.
  • Users of Ant can develop their own “antlibs” containing Ant tasks and types, and are offered a large number of ready-made commercial or open-source “antlibs”.
  • Apache Ant is extremely flexible.
  • The Apache Ant project is part of the Apache Software Foundation.


Apache Ant Build Automation Tool
Apche Ant


Apache Maven

Apache Maven is a free and open source build automation tool. It is a command line tool with some IDE integrations. Based on the concept of a project object model, Maven can manage a project’s build, reporting as well as documentation from a central piece of information.

Features of Apache Maven Build Automation Tool

  • Makes build process easy.
  • Provides a uniform build system.
  • Quality project information.
  • Provides guidelines for best practice development.
  • Allowing transparent migration to new features.
Apache Maven Build Automation Tool
A sample Apache Maven POM XML file



Gradle is an open-source build automation tool that is built upon the concepts of Apache Maven. Gradle introduces a Groovy-based domain-specific-language (DSL) instead of the XML format used by Apache Maven for declaring the project configuration.

Features of Gradle Build Automation Tool

  • Highly customizable.
  • Convention over configuration.
  • Declarative GroovyDSL, allowing imperative programming if required.
  • Dependency management based on Ivy.


Grade Build Automation Tool



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