Hi menotu - thanks again for your input - alas, I have since created (and deleted) 3 new users and tried these programs - first bare then again with complete ~/.thunderbird copied across and then was about to try just copying the mail folder but....
What was the point ? - thought if it don't work bare then the problem must lay with something set or running along side that has/is causing the problems.
I'm lost - don't know what to do next so will most likely just end up doing a re-install (start from scratch - again) over this long weekend (Easter) - boohoo.
I'll try first leaving my ~/home intact - if that don't work I'll need to get serious with an almost full hard drive
Anyways - thanks for your efforts - I'll leave this open until I've actually done the change just in case someone manages to enlighten my mind over this crazy problem.
Happy Easter to you.
Well - the bunny has gone
Here I am back and have gone from bad to worst
Decided to re-install the OS from a updated live DVD that I had created couple months back - knowing that this had worked prior as I had installed a copy onto a Laptop back then.
However - my problems were still with me
and that is even after creating a new user so considered that my problems must have been there originally and had just not surfaced untill last week (can't understand that one either though). Two attempts at re-installing from this Live DVD - 1 keeping current user and settings - 2 creating a fresh new user. So decided to go right back to the original 2007 Live CD. Big step back but no other choice.
However - whilst booting from the original Live CD (2007) I encontered "unable to mount live cd" during the boot process - above that "no IDE interface found" or something akin. My drive is a 500GB SATA.
Now I'm really flummuxed - and to top that off I re-installed from the last Live DVD and thought that I would continue to work on the problem from there only to find that now TBird & FFox won't load at all (error:floating point exception in both) and on top of that again Synaptic won't load (error:(synaptic:9638): Gtk-WARNING **: Default font does not have a positive size).
Went to Synaptic Repair Tool and after running that got an error:
Cleaning RPM cache..
./synaptic-repair.9844: line 135: 9995 Floating point exceptionapt-get clean
Updating package lists..
./synaptic-repair.9844: line 140: 9999 Floating point exceptionapt-get update
Checking for broken packages..
./synaptic-repair.9844: line 145: 10005 Floating point exceptionapt-get -f install
Updating system, please wait..
./synaptic-repair.9844: line 149: 10006 Floating point exceptionapt-get dist-upgrade
Current file sources.list backed up as sources.list.old
synaptic-repair is now finished.
Would you like to launch synaptic now? [Y/n]
and on Y it bombs out again
So now I'm back up that creek without a paddle.
I have considered hardware changes and just recently (prior to problems) I upgraded my Motherboard and RAM to a GB-UD3 type with 2x 1Gb DDR3 1060 DIMMS - original was a GByte type with DDR2 800 - maybe this new hardware is what is causing my problems (clutching at straws).
So my original MB&RAM is in another box - I shall see what happens if I install PCLos to that (it currently has XP and Ubu installed - was trying Koala) - shall destroy that OS & Home and install PCLos - see what happens there.
Will report back after task completes.
extra - seems that with Firefox, TBird and now with apt-get (synaptic) all the errors point to this "floating point exception" ?? -- on searching forums, most likely cause is faulty fonts or libcairo
but changing fonts don't seem to be helping and can't get apt-get to work so stuck with problem still.