I wonder if this is really a macos 10.4.1 bug. You said autoconf and then automake. I built them both on 10.5.6/i386 with no trouble. It has gnu m4 1.4.6 So perhaps the fix is to add something in tools that gm4 is broken on macos 10.4. Or, perhaps there is really a bug in autoconf with the wrong number of arguments but only the m4 on 10.4 detects this.
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