Here is a build system that: uses platform-independent build files; generates platform-specific build files for multiple platforms; and is template based.
"Bakefile is cross-platform, cross-compiler native makefiles generator.
It takes compiler-independent description of build tasks as input and
generates native makefile (...
The patent is a very exact description of automake & autoconf toolchain:
Autoconf is an extensible package of M4 macros that produce shell scripts to automatically configure software source code packages. These scripts can adapt the packages to many kinds of UNIX-like systems without manual user ...
Cmake [ http://www.cmake.org/ ] is a cross-platform system for building makefiles from templates.
Quoting their site:
"CMake is used to control the software compilation process using simple platform and compiler independent configuration files. CMake generates native makefiles and workspaces that can be used in the compiler environment of your choice."
I believe that the imake tool used for over a decade to build X11 did this with Makefiles.
There is an old O’Reilly book about imake that would substantiate this in more detail, but the imake FAQ from 1997 says right at the top:
What is imake? How does it work?
imake is a Makefile-generator that is intended to make it easier to develop software portably for ...
There is an excellent build system that covers off each point in claim 1 and simultaneously takes it much further. The build system is part of "Real Time Software Components" (RTSC). It employs a scriptable build system revolving around a tool suite called XDCTools.
With XDCTools, a project defines its build configuration in a file with a .bld extension (...