I made this exact same post on linuxforums.org, but after waiting a day or so no one seemed to have any ideas, so I apologize for those who browse both forums
I have Debian installed on my x20 thinkpad, during setup I only installed the X window system (and with it came a few basic window managers), not kde or gnome. Everything is working out ok, but when i tried to compile icewm from source, during the ./configure part i got the message
checking for X....no
X is required
or something to that effect. Now obviously I have the x window system installed, I was using tvm at the time. So I tried "apt-get install icewm" and it worked out fine. Thinking the problem was solved, I tried installing torsmo from source (a neat little widget that tells you all sorts of things, fan speed, battery life, processor load, ram usage) and got the same problem, X was not detected. I checked my XFConfig86-4 file but I'm not really sure what I'm looking for.
edit: I should also mention I checked torsmo's configure script to try and see what it was looking for when it checked for x, but its 13000 lines long and I dont know bash scripting very well