Davem wrote that he sometimes accidentally type make -j 128 on his Intel platform (btw: davem is Sparc maintainer). Rusty wrote that this was the main purpose to write ccontrol. A wrapper to control distcc, ccache and make.
Via ccontrol you can configure the current setup for the local machine. After that you use ccontrol instead of make and ccontrol will use the configured setting for this environment. A standard configuration, generated via ccontrol-init on a Dual Core Processor looks like the following (~/.ccontrol/default):
[*] cc = /usr/bin c++ = /usr/bin ld = /usr/bin make = /usr/bin cpus = 2 ccache = /usr/bin
A envorinment with several distcc hosts may have two additional lines:
distcc = /usr/bin/distcc distcc-hosts = hostname1 hostname2
On Debian ccontrol is available as a package: aptitude install ccontrol