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The compiler here is gcc (v. 6.2.0).

If I add -static to either LDFLAGS or CPPFLAGS, the ./configure step of an Emacs build fails, with the error

configure: error: C compiler cannot create executables

How can I troubleshoot this error further? (I am already running ./configure with the --verbose flag, but it still tells me very little about the reason for the error.)

FWIW, I want to build a static instance of Emacs, because the site where I work does not support Emacs at all ("Emacs? What's that? Why don't you use vi? Or nano?"), and the version of it they offer is prehistoric.

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