I am trying to install fontforge. So I install cygwin, and all the X11 libraries, and gcc, and so forth. I cvs checkout fontforge, unpack it, and do ./configure. It complains that it can't find the X11 libraries. So I do ./configure --help, find the options by which you can explicitly give it the library and include paths, and I do so. No luck. I dig down into the configure script and insert some printfs, by which I mean echos. But, you know, morally they are printfs because debugging-by-printf is a universal theme that transcends cultures and concrete syntaxes. This shit is Joseph Campbell, yo. Anyway. I spend a little while trying to debug this stupid build script, notice my printfs aren't being called, because it's actually running ./configure.static. So I put them there, notice that the command-line options are somehow not getting passed along right, so I invoke ./configure.static directly. Finally, at least it pays attention to the command-line arguments I gave it, and succeeds. I run make and... oh! I forgot to install make.
The fact that I forgot to install make was why the configure script was failing to (a) find X by itself or (b) believe me when I tried to tell it where X was, because it relied on little makefiles to test the integrity of the X installation. Which weren't failing because my X installation was broken or weird, but just because I didn't have make. Grrr.