When did Automake switch to using Perl

view story

http://unix.stackexchange.com – I tried to get remove Perl from my Ubuntu machine, but found that automake not only depends on Perl but itself is a Perl program. I read somewhere this was not always the case. Today I looked in the archives, but even version 1.0 already is in Perl. Did I misread, or was automake always in Perl? Are there any drop-in replacements that does not depend on Perl? (HowTos)