The HIRLAM consortium is a research effort of seven European meteorological services. In their work with limited area numerical weather forecasting, they use diffutils, RCS, and GNU make as the basis of their source code management. GNU Fortran and GNU C, along with a Bourne compatible shell like bash are sufficient to compile and run the system.
The benefit of basing source code management on free tools is the wide portability of them; I have personally used them on systems such as NeXTStep, Cray Unicos, Fujitsu VPP 700, Convex 4610, SGI, and DEC Alpha. Using GNU make is far simpler than writing makefiles that are portable to different versions of make.
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Updated: 12 Jan 2000 tower