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make check nested variables


when i compile something in a tmux or rxvt window, sometimes i get:

$ ./configure
checking for a BSD-compatible install... /usr/bin/install -c
checking whether build environment is sane... yes
checking for a thread-safe mkdir -p... /bin/mkdir -p
checking for gawk... gawk
checking whether make sets $(MAKE)... yes
checking whether make supports nested variables...

and than it hangs. Then i have to go in a terminal, where it works. My
question: Why does the check hangs and how can i avoid it?