checking whether the C compiler (gcc ) works... no,
As with the famous ubuntu stdio.h problem this is easily solved with a single package install:
% sudo apt-get install build-essential
Excuse my rant, (again), but if it's so 'essential', then why isn't it installed as part of the core system? I find that kinda weird. I thought the whole point of running a linux system was to open up the world of open-source to its users. The omission of this package IMHO has precisely the opposite effect.