I am very pleased to be mentoring Andrea Vezzosi (aka Saizan) on a Google Summer of Code project to develop a make-like dependency framework for use in Cabal. I'm really looking forward to working with Saizan on this. It should be a fun and useful project.
Congratulations to Saizan and good luck with the project!
The project itself is to start prototyping one of the big features we need for Cabal to become a really excellent build system. At the moment Cabal calls out to
ghc --make to do the hard work of figuring out what needs to be rebuilt. This only works for .hs files of course while we need it to work for all preprocessors. More generally there are a lot of things that Cabal does that would benefit from being done in a dependency style - not just limited to running external programs that update files. In addition everyone has multi-core CPUs now and we'd like to do parallel builds.