Originally Posted by usafitz
what does the 'no' mean?
The configure script is automatically generated from a description of the project and what it needs to build successfully - see the tutorial about autoconf and automake below.
These project descriptions are written in a macro language to make writing them as quick and easy as possible. Unfortunately, every program is slightly different, so the standard macros tend to check for more than the program actually needs. This produces some of the harmless the "no" responses that you see.
In principle, it is possible to hand craft the autoconf/make files to produce a configure script that only tests what is necessary, but in practice that takes a great deal of effort, and would run the risk of making the script platform dependent. So most packagers don't bother.