This is worth repeating if someone needs this tip and finds it earlier than I did.
When building on some versions of Linux, Emacs will seg fault during the build. It is mentioned in the etc/PROBLEMS but was unclear. Eric Raymond posted a cleaned up PROBLEMS file that makes it more clear. (His post is here ).
In short I entered the following and Emacs built fine.
setarch i386 ./configure setarch i386 make