Turns out the bug was apple's version of ranlib. They are quite different.


apple$ ranlib -V
Apple Computer, Inc. version cctools-590.18
ranlib: no archives specified
Usage: ranlib [-sactfqLT] [-] archive [...]


debian$ ranlib --version
GNU ranlib 2.16.91 20051117 Debian GNU/Linux
Copyright 2005 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This program is free software; you may redistribute it under the terms of
the GNU General Public License.  This program has absolutely no warranty.