SUSE 10.1, KDevelop 3.3.3, KDE 3.5.1
RESOLVED: A reply in a forum indicated that there is a known bug with the default configuration that leaves a config.status around that sabotages the entire project. The recovery is to delete all the config.status files in the project and then avoid use of the default configuration.
Developed the program under the debug configuration and then tried to switch to default or optimized configuration. Tried many combinations to try to get it working again, but all BUILD options give errors ending with makedistclean.