How to avoid boneheaded problems upgrading Kubuntu
My comment to myself, closing out my help-request thread, says it all:
Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.
I recently upgraded from Kubuntu 5.04 (hoary hedgehog) to 5.10 (breezy badger), and had some problems. Specifically, when running apt-get dist-upgrade, nothing spectacular happpened. A bunch of packages were upgraded, 30-odd were removed, and I was left with hoary instead of breezy.
That's not how it's supposed to go!
apt-get install ubuntu-base kubuntu-desktop
The Breezy upgrade instructions don't point that out in the big bold red blinking letters that I require.
My second problem: the instructions gave the complete /etc/apt/sources.list contents. The complete contents. No more, no less. You can customize it, of course, but for the upgrade that's all you need.
I still had a reference to the Kubuntu CD as the very first entry, so the upgrade process thought I was just trying to upgrade within hoary instead of from hoary to badger.
Lesson: always read (not browse) the instructions. And remember which distro you're using!