I was not familiar with this behavior of 'install -d' that it tries to change
the mode of an existing directory, but GNU coreutils 8.12.197-032bb
certainly behaves as TJ reports.

As a possible alternative, what about
    [ -d $(DESTDIR)$(main1dir) ] || $(INSTALL) -d -m 755 $(DESTDIR)$(man1dir)
so that $(INSTALL) is not called when the target directory exists

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