the autogen script calls aclocal and automake however
debian uses older versions by default (I'm guessing
because, in general, they are more compatible) versions
1.4 in fact. On a debian system to use a later version
of automake/aclocal it has to be called explicitly, for
example aclocal-1.7 and automake-1.7.
I guess a simple enough test could be devised and added
to autogen to see which version to call. maybe check
the output of automake --version and aclocal --version
and if they are a lower version than required then
check to see if aclocal-1.7 and automake-1.7 are available.