I recently had to install an older version of R (v3.1.2) from source for a specific project. Even though, I have done this a few dozen times it never ceases to amaze me that I still run into new errors. While trying to run configure:

./configure --prefix=/home/fong/usr/local/R/3.1.2


I ran into this error message:

.
.
.
checking for Fortran 77 libraries of f95...
checking how to get verbose linking output from gcc... -v
checking for C libraries of gcc...  -L/usr/local/lib64 -L/usr/lib64/../lib64 -L/usr/lib/../lib64 -L/usr/local/lib/gcc/x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu/5.2.0 -L/usr/local/lib/gcc/x86_64-unkn
own-linux-gnu/5.2.0/../../../../lib64 -L/lib/../lib64 -L/usr/lib64 -L/usr/local/lib/gcc/x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu/5.2.0/../../../../x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu/lib -L/usr/local/lib/gcc/
x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu/5.2.0/../../.. -lgcc_s
checking for dummy main to link with Fortran 77 libraries... none
checking for Fortran 77 name-mangling scheme... configure: error: in /home/fong/R-3.2.3':
configure: error: cannot compile a simple Fortran program
See config.log' for more details


After doing some googling (reference), it appeared the issue had to do with no fortran 77 installed on my computer.

But when I checked:

> which gfortran
/usr/local/bin/gfortran


Clearly, it was on my system. After looking into the configure parameters, I found that there was a F77 parameter that allows me to set “Fortran 77 compiler command”. So I modified my configure command to:

./configure --prefix=/home/fong/usr/local/R/3.1.2 F77=gfortran


This fixed my configure problem and the rest of the installation process went smoothly.