Many people judge a piece of software by its main customer. That approach is meaningful. The mission statement is sometimes not written down and the implicit mission is then to serve best this main customer.
SBuild main customer today is the Embedded Software division of Nuance. This Embedded Software part of the company is busy producing Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Text-to-Speech (TTS) software engines, the best in their class by both customer benchmarks and market share. Precisely, SBuild was born in the Automotive ASR group, the team that makes the software that allows you to dictate a destination to the GPS device in your car.
This should allow you to already make an idea about the kind of requirements SBuild was designed to serve in the first place. Our product is a medium-large piece of C code and OOC code (OOC = our proprietary Object Oriented C). The team has about a dozen researchers, a dozen software developers and yet another dozen of porting engineers spread on several sites around the world (the numbers fluctuated over our more then 10 years in business and they still evolve).
Working in embedded software, one important characteristic is the fact that our software goes to many different target platforms, some of them with unfriendly compilation tool chains. There are very few build tools available that cater specifically for cross-compilation. For example separation of the settings of the host platform from settings of the target platform is rara avis feature.
Another characteristic specific to speech processing is a lot of data compilation. That can be a small task, like compiling a text grammar to a speed-efficient binary format. And that can be big. The production of acoustic models and language models are in fact compilations of large databases into one file (and that takes several days of processing on a capable computing farm).
More recently, SBuild is used by Red Bend Software to build system software for mobile phones.
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