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Subject'make headers_check' failed to install headers to arbitrary location

I'm trying to install kernel headers to build a cross-toolchain, but got
the following:

make ARCH=arm
CHECK include/linux/raid (2 files)
CHECK include/linux/spi (1 files)
CHECK include/linux/sunrpc (1 files)
CHECK include/linux/tc_act (6 files)
CHECK include/linux/tc_ematch (4 files)
CHECK include/linux/usb (8 files)
make[2]: execvp: /bin/sh: Argument list too long
make[2]: ***
Error 127
make[1]: *** [linux] Error 2
make: *** [headers_check] Error 2

The kernel version is 2.6.28

However, this works fine for

Running make with '-n', I've found the problem is that the filelist
passed as argument to scripts/ apparently is too big.

The error depends also on a bash version, it failed on 2.05a, but passed
on 3.2.39. Unfortunately, bash (or the hole host system) upgrade is not
an option. Also, I'm sure I could find a path length big enough to
reproduce the error on a modern bash.

What would you suggest to resolve the problem?

Thanks for any help.


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