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configure dies with Permission denied error

I have debian running from a very simple installation of the 3.0 
rev1 "woody" disks.

I downloaded and uncompressed the mm distribution on the machine, and I 
am having a problem running "configure". This problem occurs no matter 
what I try to build, and so it is not particular to "mm".

Logged on to the console as root when I execute:


I get the following error:

bash: ./configure: /bin/sh: bad interpreter: Permission denied

Of course, configure will run if you execute:

    sh configure

but it dies as soon as it tries to fire off a submodule

I have been working with solaris and other UNIX distributions for many 
years, so I should know the answer to this one, but I am getting old 
and can't remember anything anymore

any ideas?

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