No errors on RHEL7+autoconf2.71 Puzzling. Can you easily try RHEL8 or one of its derivatives? It surprises me that that is the culprit, but it seems possible.
I'm using autoconf-2.71, make-4.3, etc., compiled from source, but am using the OS-provided coreutils. I think I'll try compiling that from source. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and help. -k