Found out that a couple of things didn't actually compile after all - such small things like the library for randr. A few things simply wouldn't compile because of things they were expecting in the X11 include files (another things that configure missed complaining about, I guess! Doh!
There was a fair bit of fighting over library version compatibility, and I spent hours trying to get all the cascading "aRts requires vorbis, vorbis requires ogg", etc. etc. out of the way, often having to resort to --force --nodeps when backed into a corner.
After all those hours upgrading, and pulling down KDE 3.1.5 packages, I simply couldn't get it going. Try as I might, I ended up playing Whack-A-Mole with ksmserver and dcop. It would complain that one or the other hadn't started or couldn't be started, and starting them manually ended up with them being taken down as soon as the other one was ready to start up. Closest I got to anything working was a dialog box in my actual chosen font complaining about not being able to talk to dcop, with a graphical copy of emacs running. Couldn't get any further. On top of which, I was fed up browsing with the w3m text-mode web browser
So, I wussed out with plan C: burn to the ground and re-install. I needed to back things onto my Windows drive, but vfat doesn't preserve the permissions, and it certainly won't take symbolic links. I figured out a way to preserve it, though: use zip -y, which wraps up the symbolic links in zip format. (I sucked back my SETI@Home and a number of other pieces with unzip already; worked like a charm).
I decided to pull down Fedora CORE - well, I wanted a really recent-but-stable distro that was free (no easy access to SuSE on LinuxISO
Well, between downloading, reformatting, burning CDs and installing, this has taken me less than 15% of the time of my prior futzing around. Fedora with KDE 3.1.4 looks and feels fantastic; the default font looks like the one from Black & White - it's pretty classy-looking.
I still need to recompile my kernel so I get the speed improvements (I can tell the difference; my SETI@Home is running so much slower - *snif*)
Well, I won't be trying to recompile anything with lots of dependencies any time soon, I can guarantee you that
*collapses in an exhausted heap*