I am wondering why ./confige is saying;
configure: warning: Ext2 direct support won't be compiled. Libraries
where I think I do have it installed under debian, testing, 2.6.12
ii e2fsprogs 1.38-2 ext2 file system utilities and
which contains the requested libraries as indicated here
You need to have installed "development version" of these libraries. Distributions usually have two versions of libraries - one if you just need to run programs compiled against those libraries and the other one (usually has -devel- somewhere in the name) if you need to compile new programs using those libraries. If you think you have the development version installed, then please post here log of the configuration process - file config.log.