Sometimes you get configuration error telling you that, for example, a requirement is not met—typical for software or other library-packages which are to old. I encountered this with a series of programs, especially during the compile of all the static software. Normally there should be no problem: get an up-to-date version of the software or libraries needed and then compile them according to the description found in the source tree (usually called README, INSTALL or something similar).
But there are sometimes cases where this just does not want to work. For example, I experienced problems compiling a new version of my binutils (one of the reasons why I mention them in the requirements), as I needed to compile glibc. In return, the configure script for the binutils told me, "Your glibc is to old!" So I thought, Here the snake starts eating its tail. Thankfully there is a solution for this problem: if you can not take one big step, try taking smaller ones, but more of them.
In my distribution, a glibc with the version number 2.1.1 was included. To get around the error I tried to compile version 2.1.3, which was no problem. After I installed this version of the library, I tried to compile the binutils once more, and this time all the requirements were met.
If you encounter such a "loop," try to find out what version of the software required is the minimum, then download that version (I think that is one of the reasons why so many old versions are still lying around on the FTP servers). After successfully compiling and installing, try to build the software that complained about the version again; in most cases you should now be able to compile. It may be necessary that you continue to use this method to compile missing or old software. This is what I call "the long tail of the rat" or "domino-effect." You only wanted to do one thing, but you needed to do many more before you could make the move you wanted to. It might be very nasty, but there is one good side to it: afterwards you can be quite sure that many of the programs which were really old will replaced by the time you finish your installation.